The holidays are over, and you have a tired-looking poinsettia you are not sure what to do with. Be aware that your poinsettia can actually brighten your home for months to come with proper care and attention.
Poinsettias are native Mexican plants. They thrive during the holiday season because they are short-day plants that require long nights to launch their color change. The colorful bracts of these plants are leaves, not flowers, with the most common bract color being red. The flower buds are the red or green buttons in the center of the bracts that open to a small, yellow flower. Healthy poinsettias have dark green leaves below the bracts and foliage all the way to the base. Consider these tips to keep your poinsettia looking bright.
- Poinsettias need a minimum of six hours of indirect sunlight each day.
- Protect the plants from freezing temperatures, especially when transporting them.
Place them in a light-filled room away from drafts. They do best in rooms between
55 and 65 F at night and 65 to 70 F during the day. Keep poinsettias away from cooler locations and avoid exposing them to temperatures
below 50 F.
- Water poinsettias when the soil is dry 2 to 3 inches down. The plants are very sensitive
to overwatering and will develop root rot quickly if kept too wet. Water thoroughly,
and let excess water drain out of the container bottom.
- Apply an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer once a week to keep plants healthy
during the holidays. Once the colorful bracts drop off, reduce watering and fertilization
to give the plants a rest period. Trim the poinsettia back so that just a few leaves
- With proper care, poinsettia bracts can be maintained until about March or April.
Once they begin to fall, cut the plant back, leaving about six buds. For the first
couple of weeks, the plant will resemble a stick. Water and fertilize as before, and
by May it will begin to leaf out again.
- For an interesting, unusual outdoor plant, poinsettias can be taken outside in the
spring when the danger of a freeze is past. Place the plant in a shady location, and
it can be enjoyed throughout the summer.
- To keep the plant small and compact, cut it back about mid-July and again in early
September to stimulate branching.
- Beginning the first of October, put the plant in complete darkness as soon as the
sun sets, allowing a minimum of 14 hours of darkness. A bag can be placed over the
plant, or it can be set in a closet throughout the day. By the end of November, it
will start to color and you will be able to enjoy it for another season.
Answer by Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, 435-919-1276,
Pet Safety for Fireworks Season
No Fourth of July would be complete without fireworks displays. But pets often don’t find the noise, blasts and flashing lights associated with fireworks fun or entertaining. With fireworks going off in Utah throughout the month of July, pets are bound to get stressed and anxious.Read More
Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Planning Menus around Farmers Market Selections
Farmers markets are known for offering an ever-changing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Although variety is a benefit of shopping at local farmers markets, it can be difficult and overwhelming to come up with a menu for the week without knowing what will be available at the market.Read More
Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer
Summer is a great time to be outside - but proper precautions must be taken. It is especially important to stay hydrated as temperatures rise. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious health conditions, but they can be avoided.Read More