Cooperative Extension Gives Advice on Poinsettia Care

Posted November 29, 2022


Poinsettias are the flowers often associated with Christmas and they come in a variety of colors ranging from red, white, pink, and various shades in between. With the Christmas holiday approaching, Granville County Horticulture Agent Johnny Coley offers tips on choosing and caring for your poinsettia.


“Poinsettias have a bad reputation for being poisonous,” says Coley. “Although they are not recommended for food consumption, they are not poisonous. Some people may have an adverse reaction to the latex that exudes from the leaves and stem when they are broken; however, usually this is only a minor skin irritation.”


When asked how to go about choosing the best poinsettia for purchase, Coley emphasized that buyers “be sure it is not wilted, and the bottom leaves are not yellow. This could be an indication of over watering or temperature damage and the plant will not recover.” 


“The care of poinsettias is much like any other house plant, with water and temperature being the main concerns,” continued Coley. “Poinsettias do not like to be over watered but prefer evenly moist soil. When in doubt about whether to water poinsettias, err on the side of dry. How often you need to water will depend on location and the type of soil in which they are growing. Temperatures for poinsettias should range between 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below or above this will shorten the life of the plant.”


Coley recommended the following strategies for those who would like to keep their poinsettia past the Christmas season. “Treat it like other houseplants with once-a-month fertilization schedule. When the day length begins to shorten next fall, place the poinsettia in an area that receives at least 13-14 hours of uninterrupted darkness until it turns the appropriate color.”


For more information about poinsettia care please visit Cooperative Extension website.

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