Care Of Your Poinsettias
Place the plant in an area where it will receive as much indirect light as possible and do not place it in a draft. Should your poinsettia be wrapped in foil, punch a hole in the bottom to provide good drainage and place pot in a saucer. An easy way to water poinsettias is to set it in the sink, soak it, and at the same time, remove yellowed foliage off the bottom of the plant. Check your poinsettia every other day to every third day, depending on light. Another way to water is placing ice cubes on the soil daily to maintain even moisture through the season. The amount of ice cubes depends on the pot size. For small 4 inch- 2-3 cubes daily. For 6 inch use 3-5 cubes and for larger pots use a few more. Double check the moisture occasionally with your finger or moisture meter. Most enjoy the poinsettia for the holidays and then move on to other spring blooming plants in January and February. If, on the other hand, you want to grow it for your garden, in March , cut your plant back short and either repot or plant it in the ground in a sunny protected area. With a few simple steps, your poinsettia will give you blooms year after year.
Bonus Tidbit! Gill’s Connection To Today’s Poinsettia
Native to Mexico, the poinsettia can be traced as far back as the 14th century. The name poinsettia is credited to Joel Roberts Poinsett, a United States ambassador to Mexico in the 1820’s who brought the plant back to the US. In the 1950’s, Dr. Robert Stewart, a geneticist for the Agricultural Research Service Florist and Nursery Crops Laboratory in Beltsville, MD., started researching poinsettias to improve their quality. New colors like pink, white, and spotted variations are attributed to Dr. Stewart’s work, James Gill’s uncle!
My uncle, Bob Stewart, told us he would attend research conferences close to Christmas, and watch the decorative poinsettias in the lobby areas fade away awfully fast. He said to himself, “I bet we could breed much more longevity into that bloom!” And he did, and then went on to breed colors beyond red.