Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
What’s your favorite color? These days you can get any color poinsettia you want. Whether it’s sassy reds, sophisticated pinks, delightful purples, intriguing whites, creams, and yellows, you can take your pick. Poinsettias are available in all these colors. Whatever color you choose, the following guide will serve you well. If you start with a good quality poinsettia, and it should provide color for weeks to come.
Shop carefully. Look the plants over, and choose a good one. You want one that is fully colored. Avoid ones that have a lot of green around the bract edges.
The bracts are the colorful part of the poinsettia. We may think of them as flowers, but in fact they aren’t. The true blossoms are tiny and inconspicuous. They’re masked by the vivid bracts.
Select a plant with a stiff stem and dark, rich green foliage. This is a sign of good health. If they are pale, discolored, wilted, broken, or drooping, the plant may have a problem.
In addition, plants should have dense foliage all the way down their stems. The exceptions are topiaries and standards. Poinsettias are often trained in these decorative shapes. They usually cost quite a bit more than a regular potted poinsettia.
Look at the overall plant. A good one will be about 2 ½ times taller than its diameter. It should look balanced, full and mature from all sides.
When you go to buy the poinsettia, avoid ones in wrapped pots. If they have been left in this mesh, plastic, or paper for long periods, this is bad for the plants. The longer they remain wrapped, the worse it is for the poinsettias.
Avoid plants that are wilted or have waterlogged soils. This can sometimes be a sign of root rot.
When you’ve chosen your plant and paid for it, carry it to the car in a shopping bag. This will protect it from wind and cold.
Pamper your poinsettia once you get it home. Choose a good spot to help it last longer. They need bright indirect sun. Don’t put it in a sunny window. Instead, use a curtain to diffuse the light.
Keep it in a fairly cool place. Spots to avoid would be ones near fireplaces, heating vents, warm appliances, and any areas where there are drafts.
Water your poinsettia when the soil feels dry to the touch. Add water until it runs out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Make sure all the water drains out before replacing it on the saucer. Allowing the pot to sit in water will promote root rot. Don’t bother fertilizing your poinsettia while it is blooming.
After it quits blooming, you have two choices. Either keep the plant for the following Christmas, or discard it. Most people just throw them away.