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Caring for Poinsettias – #3 Creature Comfort

Posted by Wallish on Dec 11 2018

Once you’ve mastered Thing 1 and Thing 2 in caring for your poinsettia, Thing 3 is pretty simple.  The key is to once again remember that poinsettias come from the tropics.

Poinsettias like to be kept comfortably warm – not too hot and not too cold – kind of like Goldilocks’ porridge — maintain your poinsettia at room temperature, in the high teens to mid 20s Celsius and keep it from areas that are too hot or too cold.

Poinsettias will dry it out quickly if they are kept in close proximity to forced air vents and fireplaces.   The flowers and leaves dry out – first they curl and then they get crisp like a potato chip.

Also watch for areas that get too cold.  An area that is notorious for handing out regular blasts of our subzero freshness  is by the front door. We get that it’s  awesome to have that poinsettia splash of color at the front door to greet company, but set it back a little further into the house.  Draughty window ledges and cold window panes offer the same problem.  When a poinsettia is chilled it will look wilted – this is kind of a poinsettia’s universal sign for displeasure –  sometimes they recover but other times they do not, depending on how chilled they get.

Enjoy this traditional Christmas decoration and all of us at Wallish Greenhouses wish you a most delightful Christmas!

 Contact us today for more information about caring for your poinsettia!

Caring for Poinsettias – #2 Hold the Water!

Posted by Wallish on Dec 6 2018

Once your poinsettia is home and unpacked, the next big thing is to not over-water it. Over-watering is a very clear and present danger to poinsettias at this time. Being from the tropics where the soil base is very thin, they are actually a plant that is used to being kept on the drier side.

Wait to water until the soil is dry and the pot weight is light, which should happen about every 4-7 days.

When that happens, water it thoroughly with clear water (fertilizer is unnecessary at this time) so that it drains out from the bottom of the pot.  You can do this in either of 2 ways:

  • Water at the top of the pot, do not water the leaves

OR

  • Take the foil cover off of the pot and place the pot in a bowl of about 3” of water to take up moisture from the bottom.

Let it drain thoroughly and check it daily by lifting it up to see how heavy it is.

More poinsettias have died from over-watering than under-watering.

When poinsettias are over watered they look wilted and the temptation is to water them more but then the cycle of over-watering starts. So, whenever your poinsettia looks slightly wilted (we call that flagging), lift the pot to assess its weight and that will give you a clue as to whether it’s over or under in the watering category.

Caring for Poinsettias – #1 Keep It Warm!

Posted by Wallish on Dec 4 2018

Few things ring in Christmas like a beautiful poinsettia!  But how to keep it that way?  This is the first in a 3 part miniseries on keeping your poinsettia looking great.

Actually, the key to keeping poinsettias looking beautiful is to understand their tropical heritage.  Poinsettias originate from the tropics and they thrive in temperatures of the mid to high 20s Celsius.  With that in mind, our winter cold can paralyze, if not kill them.  If a poinsettia gets chilled, it will look wilted like it needs water.  Wilting is actually a poinsettia’s universal way of saying it’s unhappy.  Too hot – wilted.  Too cold – wilted.  To dry – wilted.  Too wet – wilted.  Get the idea?

Well.

How are we going to get this plant home toasty warm and happy?

First of all, make picking up your poinsettia the last thing on your errand list, so your vehicle is warm and it won’t have to wait anywhere in the cold while other errands are being run and then take it out of your vehicle first when you arrive to your destination.

In transport, make sure that your poinsettia is bundled up!  Poinsettias should be wrapped up in layers, just like we dress in layers to stay warm.

The first layer should be a paper sleeve.  This sleeve will give it the initial layer to protect it from damage and the cold.

And second, a plastic gusset bag should be placed over that to give an additional layer of insulation.  No more of that walking through a parking lot with just an open cellophane sleeve!  There’s nothing to insulate or protect your poinsettia when it just has cellophane around it.

When you have your poinsettia inside; to unwrap it, don’t bother with trying to wiggle it out of the top of the paper sleeve, just tear the sleeve off – it will, again, result in less damage.

Once home safe & warm, you’re up to 90% in poinsettia care success.

 Contact us today for more information about caring for your poinsettia!

FAQ – Are Poinsettias Poisonous?

Posted by Wallish on Dec 15 2015

The most frequently asked question about poinsettias is whether or not they are poisonous to humans or pets.  The short answer is no, they are not.  There are varying theories as to how this rumor got started, but in any case, it is simply not true.

Poinsettias are members of the Euphorbia family, all of whom possess a milky white sap.  If any problems arise from poinsettias, it is usually caused from this sap which can be irritating on contact. If someone is sensitive, this sap may cause a minor skin irritation, called dermatitis.

As far as ingesting, or eating poinsettias goes, research results done by the University of Ohio in 1971 indicate that poinsettias are not poisonous.  The findings say that for a poinsettia to cause any level of harm to begin, a 50lb child must eat 500 leaves.  Additionally, the milky sap is bitter tasting, so the appeal to eat enough of it to cause illness just isn’t there.

As for the effect poinsettias have on pets, according the Pet Poison Helpline and other sources, the extent of negative outcomes include minor stomach irritation, drooling, and rarely diarrhea.

Interestingly but little known, holly and mistletoe are more dangerous for pets than poinsettias.  And, if anyone is looking for a plant to panic about  — lilies — are toxic to cats — the list of lilies includes: Asiatic lilies, Daylilies, Easter lilies, Stargazer lilies, Tiger lilies, Wood lilies, Japanese Show lilies.  Toxic to both cats and dogs are lily of the valley and gloriosa lily.

Relax and enjoy your poinsettia!

Listed below are some links to articles with further detailed information:

“Poinsettias Poisonous Reputation Persists, Despite Proof to the Contrary”

 

“The Myth of the Poisonous Poinsettia”

 

“Pet Poison Helpline “Poinsettia”

 

Poinsettia Care in 3 Easy Steps

Posted by Wallish on Dec 1 2015

Poinsettias are actually really easy to care for as long as you bear in mind where they come from.  They are tropical plants, native to Mexico, so their needs are unique but not complex.  The first 2 steps will get you to a 95% success rate and hopefully step 3 will ensure a home run.  Enjoy!

  1. Avoid Chilling on the Way Home
  • Because poinsettias are from the tropics, a freezing ride home will do them in. You can tell your poinsettia has been chilled by their wilted looking appearance, especially when they appeared robust and beautiful upon leaving the store.
  • To avoid having them get too cold, make sure that they are dressed in layers (like us) when they enpoinsettia clothedter our winter temperatures. The best wrap for them is in a paper sleeve folded at the top with a plastic sealed bag over top of that as pictured above.
  • Make picking up your poinsettia the last stop of your day so it can go into a warm vehicle and doesn’t have to sit in the cold during other errands.
  • So, no more walking through parking lots with an open plastic sleeve exposing poinsettias to our wintery blasts of cold.
  1. Hold the Water

–      Overwatering is classically the next area that causes frequent death in the life of a poinsettia. Generally poinsettias only need to be watered every week or even 10 days, but remember to check them daily – every hompoinsettia caree is different.

–      To check for water needs, pick up the pot and check its weight – this is how we check in the greenhouse. Once you have watered it so water drains out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, you will know how heavy a fully watered poinsettia weighs.  When the pot is very light, it is time to water.

–      When a poinsettia is overwatered it will get a wilted appearance making you think it needs more water and then the cycle of overwatering begins and perpetuates the problem.

–      There is no need for fertilizing because they are in full bloom and don’t need it.

  1. Environmental Details

–     Regular room temperature is fine for poinsettias.

–     Avoid cold draughts from windows & outside doors – they may get chilled and wilted looking.

–     Avoid hot draughts from heat registers – they may get dried out quickly and get crispy leaves.

 

 

10 Fun Facts About Poinsettias

Posted by Wallish on Nov 26 2015

This is the time of year when greenhouses, malls and Christmas displays boast the colors of red, white and pink of the beautiful poinsettia flower. Here are a few fun and interesting facts about poinsettias to dazzle your friends and associates this holiday season should you be digging for light conversational topics  —

  1. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were introduced to the USA, and consequently North America, by a gentleman named Joel Roberts Poinsett.  Joel was a man who packed a lot of living and learning in his life, botany being one of his passions. Upon an envoy to Mexico right around Christmas time, he noticed and fell in love with the brilliantly colored beautiful flower and introduced it to the US.
  2. Poinsettias are of the Euphorbia family, related to Euphorbia polychroma, the wonderful spring blooming (and our zone hardy!) Cushion Spurge with its luminous yellow color.
  3. The scientific Latin name for poinsettias is Euphorbia pulcherrima, meaning the most beautiful Euphorbia.
  4. Poinsettias were also called ‘Painted Leaf’, and ‘Mexican Fire Plant’.
  5. The common name of this Christmas flower was dubbed ‘Poinsettia’ in Joel Poinsett’s honor.
  6. All Euphorbias have a milky white sap that is now called latex. This sap can be irritating to skin but it is not toxic.  Back in the day in Mexico, this sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers.
  7. In Mexico, poinsettias were also used to make purple dye for clothing and cosmetics.
  8. The original colors of poinsettias were just red or white.
  9. The colored leaves of the poinsettias are called bracts and are not the flowers. The real poinsettia flowers are the yellow colored blossoms in the center of the bracts.  The colored bracts attract pollinators.
  10. There is a wonderful Mexican story centered around a little girl named Pepita that who has no gift to bring to a nativity in her church that speaks of this beautiful flower – check it out, it’s a lovely short story.

Call us for more information on our beautiful poinsettias!