• Poinsettia: Selection and Care

    Are their techniques to selecting a long lasting Poinsettia for the holidays?  Once it is home, what is the best way to care for the plant?  Is it poisonous?

    NOT POISONOUS: First of all nor the plant or or the bracks (leaves) are poisonous. The plant does have a latex-like sap that can cause mild skin irritation of left on the skin.

    Choosing a Poinsettia
    When purchasing poinsettias, select plants with these
    characteristics:

    Brightly colored bracts and unopened or partially
    opened yellow flowers (cyathia) in the center.

    Dark green foliage covering the stem to the soil
    line of the plant.

    Leaves and bracts showing no drooping or wilting.

    Leaves or bracts that are not faded, discolored, or
    torn.

    Good form and in proportion with the container.
    A good rule is the plant should be 2½ times taller
    than the diameter of the container.

    No evidence of whiteflies, aphids, or other pests on
    the undersides of the leaves.

    Care of Poinsettias during the Holidays

    Place the poinsettia in a bright location in the
    home where it can receive indirect light. Although it can
    withstand direct sunlight, watering requirements will
    increase and the flowers will not last as long.

    Keep poinsettias away from drafts, HVAC vents,
    and home heaters.

    Avoid letting the bracts touch cold windowpanes
    because the transfer of outdoor temperatures can
    cause damage.

    Over watering is a major cause of early leaf and
    bract drop in poinsettias, so keep the plant moist
    but not soggy.

    If the poinsettia came with a plastic decorator
    wrap, punch drainage holes in the bottom of the
    plastic wrap or remove it for proper drainage.

    Place the plant on a drainage saucer.

    A great resource with additional information is available by clicking this link:  Selecting & Maintaining Poinsettias

     This article is from Mississippi State University Extension Service.