Poinsettias – The Christmas Houseplant
Euphorbia pulcherrima is the botanical name for the Poinsettia, which is probably one of the favourite plants to buy this time of year along with a Christmas tree, to help decorate the home ready for the festive season.
Millions of Poinsettias are purchased in the UK each year, and are mainly red, but specialist nurseries have been hard at work over the past few decades and have created more than 150 different varieties, including beautiful pinks, oranges, creams, and whites. So, you should be able to find one to coordinate with your colour scheme.
They originated from Mexico, which indicates how to look after them, but here are a few tips to help you keep your plant looking perky throughout the winter.
Buying a Poinsettia
Firstly, when you buy your plant, don’t buy them if they’re placed in a shop doorway as they really hate being in draughts and although they may look fresh and healthy, the leaves are likely to fall off after a few days.
Look at the flowers in the centre of the plant – these are the little yellow button shaped flowers in the middle of the red bracts. If they look healthy, then it’s a good indication the plant is healthy.
Check the soil. If its sodden or bone dry, then it will be stressed about that too and again, the leaves may fall off when you get it home. As they’re sensitive, ideally its best to wrap them in paper for the journey home and avoid the cold weather if possible.
Once you have your beautiful plant at home, the best place to put it is in a sunny / part sunny, warm, and draught free spot. They like 15-21 degrees preferably. Remove it from a windowsill overnight and make sure the leaves aren’t touching the glass during the day as its likely to be too cold for it.
If the leaves are drooping and/or yellowing, it’s a good indication that its not being watered correctly. This is easily remedied. Firstly, check the soil to see how dry it is. If its in a small pot, it will likely need watering a small amount every day – a little and often approach. If you have a larger pot, again, check the soil daily to monitor how much water it is drinking, and if its in a warm area, it may need water more often, but don’t let it sit in a saucer of water, as this can also lead to root damage and the plants early demise.