Ever wondered about Poinsettias? Where they are from? How to condition and prepare your Poinsettias correctly this December?
They most definitely have a reputation for being hard work – but if you follow our top tips and advise – it is sure to brighten up the winter gloom this December and hopefully with a little tender love and attention, your Christmas Poinsettias will thrive well past Christmas!!
Introduction on Poinsettias
So firstly, a little introduction to Joel Roberts Poinsettias – otherwise known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. They are a culturally important species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used for Christmas displays.
They come in a range of colours, from red, pink to yellow etc. The bright colours on Poinsettias are actually leaf bracts, not flowers! Through the process of photoperiodism, in response to certain amounts of light or lack of, turn the leaves from green to red or other colours! The flowers themselves are small and are found in the centre of the stalk!
In order to turn the plant red, you need to eliminate its light. During the day, poinsettia plants require at least six hours of light in order to absorb enough energy for colour production. However, at night, poinsettias must be kept in a dark, cold place with no light for at least 12 hours.
How to prepare and condition your Poinsettias this year?
- Check your plant for any bugs (you don’t want the plant to be infected – if so, it is best to throw it out and purchase another poinsettia!)
- Place the plant in a cool (not cold) room with curtain filtered sunlight. The ideal conditions for the plant are written below:
Ideal condition for Poinsettias
Watering: Thoroughly water from the base of the plant when the soil feels dry. Empty the drainage tray after to ensure you do not over water your poinsettias (you do not want them to sit in water!). Between watering, the plant should be allowed to go dry to touch.
Light: Position the plant in a good light, indirect sunlight and away from draughts. Don’t allow the plant to touch cold glass.
Temperature: Do not allow the plant to be exposed to cold drafts or any extreme temperatures changes (do not place it near a radiator). Keep the environment constant – as advised by Jamie Downes, Wyevale Garden Centres Nursery Manager “the biggest mistake people make is moving them between hot ad cold temperatures too quickly.”
Due to the complex nature of growing conditions, it can be discouraging trying to keep your plant from year to year. However, you can give it a try:
- In March, gradually reduce the watering. Keep the plant fairly dry and prune hard back once the plant drop all of its leaves.
- In May, increase the watering – when the new shots start to appear, re-pot it.
- Once developed, feed weekly with liquid fertiliser (balanced).
- As the days begin to shorten, allow the plants to be exposed to 12 hours of light each day and the other 12 hours in complete darkness at a minimum temperature of 18 degrees