Poinsettias for the Holidays

R. Keith Collins  |  12/2/2010 10:48:15 PM

News Article written for The Richland Beacon and The Delhi Dispatch.

Keith Collins, County Agent
Richland Parish


Poinsettias are undoubtedly the most popular house plant for the holiday season in homes, churches and places of business.

Plants are generally available around Thanksgiving and with proper selection and care, can last well into 2011. Red poinsettias represent about 90 percent of the market but are available in colors such as white, marble, pink and combinations of these colors.

When purchasing poinsettias, consideration should be given to the size and number of colored leaves. Colored leaves should be large and extend over the lower green leaves. A premium quality plant will usually have at least six leaves or more. Lower green leaves should extend over the rim of the pot. Check underneath the lower leaves for insects, primarily white flies, while drooping leaves may indicate problems. The major consideration when purchasing poinsettias is to inspect the green flower parts in the center of the leaves which will indicate display life. Plants having large flower parts showing yellow pollen and sap will have the longest display life.

Once in the home, select a location that receives some sunlight.  Avoid locations that expose plants to sudden temperature changes such as ventilation systems or a drafty spot near a doorway. Temperatures in most homes are acceptable with ideal temperatures of 70-75 degrees F in daytime and 62-65 degrees F at night.

Allow just the soil surface to dry to the touch before watering with warm water. Avoid water or mist on the colored leaves and do not let the poinsettia stand in water for more than 30 minutes to one hour.

Contact your local Extension office with questions at 318-728-3216 or visit us at 702 Madeline Street, Rayville, Louisiana.
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