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Keep Your Poinsettias Cozy

Otherwise winter’s chill will wilt your Christmas blooms

Keep Christmas in bloom by shielding your poinsettias from sudden drops in temperature. Remember, poinsettia are a tropical plant, so a sudden chill below 40 degrees can cause the plant to quickly lose foliage, including the red or white bracks.
    At 36 degrees, foliage can be freeze-damaged. Within 24 to 48 hours, tissues between the veins in the leaves will appear water-soaked and turn black-green. There is no recovery.
    To keep your poinsettia warm, avoid placing it near doors or windows that are likely to be opened.
    If you purchase a poinsettia on a cold and blustery day, have the clerk protect the plant with a paper or plastic sleeve, stapled at the top to prevent heat loss. Don’t grab an unprotected plant and make a run for the car on a cold day. Risk such a mad dash and you are likely to arrive home with a leafless potted plant.
    If you think your poinsettia may have been chilled in transit, leave the plant in the sleeve for a few hours once in the house. Allowing your new poinsettia to acclimate slowly can minimize damage in borderline cases.

   Soap Up Your         
   Compost Pile         

Dried leaves are very difficult to soak, but unless you wet them thoroughly in your compost bin, they will not decompose. To assure thorough wetting of the dried leaves, add 1⁄4 cup of dish detergent to a 12 quart pail of water and sprinkle each layer of leaves while spraying with the hose.

    Keep your poinsettia looking fresh by checking the moisture of each pot daily. Press your finger into the growing medium, halfway between the stem of the plant and the wall of the pot. If the medium feels cool and moist, there is adequate moisture. If it feels warm and dry, water it thoroughly. A large pot with several poinsettias will require watering more often than a pot with only one plant.
    Add water until it flows through the bottom of the pot. If water flows through immediately, the medium is too dry to absorb liquids. Soak the pot in a basin or pail of warm water for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain the plant before returning it to its place of honor.
    Avoid over-watering, as poinsettias are very susceptible to root rot.