Photo Courtesy of jciv
Every year our home is decorated with a variety of poinsettias. These lovely plants come in a variety of reds, pinks and whites and are native to Mexico. In nature the plants can grow up to 10 feet tall, but even the home variety can grow quiet large with proper care. When purchasing a poinsettia look for a plant that has healthy green leaves. It's best to select plants whose flowers have not yet open all the way. This way you get to enjoy the blooms for a longer time.
in the pink for the holidays....., originally uploaded by *hb19.
Poinsettias are sensitive to drastic temperature changes and don't like drafts or cold air, so it helps to ask for a paper sleeve, when transporting the plant from the nursery to your home.
Poinsettias like humidity and prefer it warm, somewhere around 65 to 70 degrees F. Place your plant on a tray filled with pebbles and some water. This way the roots stay dry, but the plant receives moisture. Let the soil dry out completely between watering, but mist especially if the air in your home is rather dry.
Watch out for white flies, which can be easily taken care of by spraying with an organic mix of pyrethrine.
Once the red leaves drop, gradually decrease the water until the bracts all drop, then allow the plant to dry out completely. To imitate a Mexican winter store the plant in a cool area, such as the garage (50F).
Once evening temperatures rise above 50F repot the poinsetta in in fresh soil and start gradually to water and fertilize again.
August, cut the plant back by a third.