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Have the Best Poinsettias this Festive Season

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Have the Best Poinsettias this Festive Season

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Every year it seems that the arrival of Poinsettias at the nursery also herald the festive season.  Few things say Christmas like a Poinsettia.  They are one of the most recognizable pot plants in South-Africa.  I however wonder what happens to all those plants sold after the holidays… The sad thing is that most of them probably die off. Follow our tips below to keep your Poinsettias looking at their best all year round.

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Fun fact: The yellow bits are actually the true flowers and red parts are the coloured leaves

Where to keep your Poinsettias

  • They prefer being kept in bright light which ensures that they maintain that lovely red leaf colour.
  • They can even tolerate morning sunlight.
  • A spot on a patio or covered area will be perfect, as long as there is no afternoon sun.
  • Try to keep them out of droughts and cold winds.
  • In nature Poinsettias flower during the winter, here in South-Africa the growers actually decrease the amount of light to promote flowering.
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A typical greenhouse for Poinsettias, note the shutters to decrease the amount of light

Caring for your Poinsettias

  • Allow your plants to dry out in between watering.
  • Be careful of over watering as the leaves tend to drop off if they are over watered.
  • Feed them every second week with a liquid fertilizer.
  • The older bottom leaves tend to turn yellow in time, just pick them off as they turn yellow.
  • After the festive season plant them out in a protected spot in the garden and they will flower naturally every winter.
  • Prune them back in spring if they have become too leggy.
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Poinsettias growing outdoors

Poinsettia facts

  • Star flowers are native to Mexico.
  • Despite rumours to the contrary, they are not poisonous. A study at Ohio state university showed that a child would have to eat  more than half a kilogram of Poinsettia leaves to have any side effects. The leaves are reportedly not very tasty, so it is highly unlikely that kids or even pets would be able to eat that many.
  • The 12th December is national Poinsettia day in the USA.
  • In the ancient Aztec culture Poinsettias where known as star flowers.
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These days Poinsettias are available in a stunning range of colours

Now that you know how to look after your Poinsettias, there is no reason not to add them for that extra bit of festive flair. They also make excellent living gifts that give beyond the festive season.

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