Poinsettia: Selection and Care

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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

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

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.