Poinsettias are a Christmas classic.

Their modified leaves called bracts come in a variety of colors and variegations. The actual flowers of the plant are the tiny yellow centers surrounded by the colorful bracts. In their native Mexico, poinsettias are a perennial shrub that can grow up to 15 feet tall. 

In our area, though, it’s a houseplant that can reach two feet tall. With the proper care, yours will stay vibrant and healthy all through the holiday season.

Poinsettias do not like to be cold at all. They don’t even like their leaves to touch a cool window. When considering where to place yours, find a spot that stays between 65 degrees and 75 degrees that doesn’t get drafty. They also prefer higher humidity. You may need to mist yours daily, place it on a humidity tray of pebbles or place it near a humidifier.

It’s ideal spot would also receive lots of bright light. The brighter the light it receives, the more vibrant its colors will be. In shadier spots, its leaves may lose some of their color.

Water your poinsettia when the top inch of its soil is dry. They like their soil to stay moist, but not soaking wet. If you have a decorative pot cover around yours, take it out of the cover so that the water can properly drain out.

Poinsettias are not poisonous. While they are not to be eaten as they can lead to an upset stomach, they are safe to have in your house. Poinsettias are, however, members of the Euphorbia family. The plants in this family all have a milky sap that can cause an itchy rash on those sensitive to it. Be careful when pruning yours, and make sure you wash your hands afterwards.

It is difficult, but not impossible, to get your poinsettia to rebloom after the holidays. Because of the labor-intensive process, many people treat the plant as an annual and throw it out when it has finished blooming. 

After prunings and periods of controlled drought through the first half of the year, you’ll need to keep your poinsettia in complete darkness from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day in October. In November, you should see new flower buds.

Make your yuletide season bright with colorful poinsettias. Have questions about their care? Our Martin’s Home & Garden team is ready to help.

Jennifer Brown is the Marketing Coordinator for Martin’s Home & Garden. The family-owned full-service garden center has proudly served the Rutherford County community since 1982. Martin’s Home & Garden is located at 1020 NW Broad St. and can be reached by phone at (615) 867-7121.

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