It’s National Poinsettia Day! If you haven’t already adorned your house with a lovely Poinsettia, by all means, celebrate the day by purchasing a potted Poinsettia.
Did you know?
Are Poinsettias Poisonous?
Here’s a myth that we can put to rest about this beautiful plant. Poinsettias are not toxic and thus not dangerous to have indoors near children. Although Poinsettias are ornamental, and should not be eaten, a child would have to consume more than 500 bracts in order to reach an unsafe level, according to the Poisindex. Keep out of toddlers reach to prevent ingesting.
Poinsettias are also not deadly but are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. To avoid unpleasant symptoms of drooling, or vomiting, keep the plant out of reach of pets.
Potted Poinsettia Care Tips
This beautiful potted plant makes its annual debut each December, yet it is not winter hardy. As you read, the poinsettia is a tropical plant, native to Mexico. Like most tropical species, poinsettias don’t do well in temperatures below 50°F. A little tender loving care will keep your potted Poinsettia beautiful through the holidays.
Keeping Poinsettia as a House Plant Year-Round
The Poinsettia can be treated like a houseplant and fertilized every few weeks. In March, once the leaves (bracts) have fallen, the stems should be pruned. The plant can be placed outdoors for a rest when spring temperatures permit. In June, repot in a slightly larger container.
Come September a rigorous routine of 10 hours of daylight followed by total darkness in a closet will be required each day in order for the plant to flower in time for the holidays.
Author’s Note: I successfully grew a potted poinsettia for more than two years indoors in a sunroom. I watered and fertilized the plant with water from our koi pond. After a couple of years, of growth, it had more than doubled in size. So, I gifted the poinsettia to family in Florida to transplant in their yard, where it continues to flourish. If you live as far south as Florida, you can plant your poinsettia outdoors, in your yard, in spring.
What’s your favorite color Poinsettia?
From the traditional red to shades of white, peach, pink, and yellow, there are more than 100 cultivars available including marbled, striped and spotted tones. Want something unusual? Check out these showy varieties: Ice Punch, Autumn Leaves, Tapestry, Winter Rose, and Red Glitter.
Peterstar Marble, the elegant specimen with its shrimp color, edged in pale yellow, gracing our dining table in the top photograph is a personal favorite.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is a nonfiction author, and editor of Journey to Natural Living. She is author of seven books including, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Deborah has been a regular lifestyle feature writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
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