House Plants

Easy-Care Poinsettias

Everybody loves to add festive color and blooming beauty to their home with colorful poinsettias during the holidays. For many people, going to the local garden center and selecting some choice poinsettias is part of the fun of the holiday season and a nice trip out for the family. But, how do you care for your pretty baby once you’ve gotten it home?  Fear not, friends, caring for poinsettias is easy.

Photo by Homewood Nursery & Garden Center

Photo by Homewood Nursery & Garden Center

Light, water, and temperature are the key factors you want to control when caring for poinsettias:

• Place your plant in a room with sufficient natural light to read fine print. Poinsettias may droop and develop yellow leaves if the light is too low.

• Water thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch, but don’t leave plants sitting in water. If you have a decorative pot cover over the pot, cut an “x” in the bottom and place the plant in a saucer that will catch excess water which can then be dumped out.

• Avoid exposing plants to extreme cold or placing them in drafty spots. Ideal room temperatures are 74°F during the day and not below 60°F at night. Keep poinsettias from sources of excess heat such as fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

Contrary to popular belief poinsettias are not poisonous, but they shouldn’t be eaten. A 50 lb. child would have to eat 500 to 600 bracts to exceed experimental doses. Poinsettias, while lovely to look at, taste awful, so it is unlikely more than a leaf or two would be eaten before the eater got the brilliant idea that maybe they shouldn’t keep on munching.

Tina Mast is communications director for Homewood Nursery & Garden Center and a local garden writer. You can reach her at or (919) 847-0117.

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