Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Poinsettia care

For many of us, the poinsettia has become as much a part of Christmas as the Christmas tree.

You can find them just about everywhere this time of year, and if you have one or will be getting one, how can you care for it to make it last as long as possible?

You might be dreaming of a spectacular red Christmas plant but there's more to the poinsettia these days. There are pink ones and ones that look like roses and even glittered and painted ones.

To learn a bit about this lively holiday decoration, 69 News went to Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses where they grow around 2 million poinsettias every year. 

The plant is named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico, who brought this red beauty to the U.S. Now you can find more than 100 varieties.

When picking your favorite, make sure the leaves aren't droopy and the buds are healthy.

"Actually the flower is not the red bloom.  The flower is actually the bud that's inside so you want to make sure the buds are there and that they're in tact and starting to open up because the longer you have the small buds growing the longer the plant will last," said Cindy Thomas of Dan Schantz Farms.

Being a tropical plant, they don't like the cold which makes things complicated. They'll be wrapped to keep them warm when you leave the store.

"When you take it home, take the sleeve off don't leave it on there, if you do there's a gas that will emit and all those leaves will fall off from the top down," Thomas said.

Also try to put the plant in a bright spot.

"A lot of people want to put them around their Christmas tree which is in the dark, that's perfectly fine. They'll be fine for a month or so," she said.

Water it but not too much.

"You'll want to take it out and water it, let it drain and you can put it back in again," Thomas advised.

Can you keep it till next year? Absolutely. But you'll have some work to do.

"You start somewhere around September and you give them 12 hours of complete day and 12 hours of complete night and then you'll have color by Christmas," Thomas said.

Be careful with your pets around poinsettias. If they eat them, they could get sick. Animal experts say lilies, holly, and mistletoe are even more dangerous to both cats and dogs so make sure to keep those away from your pets too.


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