10 expert tips for gorgeous poinsettias | Living the Country Life
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10 expert tips for gorgeous poinsettias

Garden expert Justin Hancock shares his secrets for buying beautiful poinsettias -- and keeping them beautiful as long as possible.
  • 1. Brighter is better

    Look for healthy plants. Choose a poinsettia with colorful bracts (which you might think of as petals) and rich green leaves. Pass by plants that have yellowed or wilting leaves; these plants don't last as long.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 2. Go sleeveless

    Avoid plants in sleeves. Poinsettias are sometimes sold in paper or plastic sleeves to help protect the plants during shipping. Sleeved plants usually age faster than plants that aren't grown in sleeves.

    To create this dramatic display, place damp blocks of florist foam on trays down the center of your table. Cut stems from poinsettia plants and stick into the foam.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 3. No green

    Select plants with fully colored bracts. Make sure the colorful leaf-like bracts don't have green edges; a lot of green in the bracts usually means the poinsettia was shipped too early.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 4. Send pollen packing

    See how mature the poinsettia is by looking at the tiny yellow flowers at the center of the bracts. If the flowers have opened and you can see yellow, powdery pollen, the plant is past its prime. Look for a plant with tight yellow buds.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 5. Put a coat on it

    Protect your plant when you bring it home by wrapping it in a shopping bag if temperatures are below 50 degrees outside.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 6. Avoid overheating

    Keep your poinsettia away from heat. Warm temperatures can damage the plant just as much as cold temperatures. Avoid placing your poinsettia near heat registers, fireplaces, or in rooms where the temperature stays above 80 degrees.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 7. Let the sunshine in

    Display your poinsettia in a spot with bright light. Your poinsettia will do best if you keep it a spot with bright but indirect light. A north- or east-facing window is usually ideal.

    To get this look, slip snipped poinsettia blooms into a florist pick filled with water, and tuck into a wreath.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 8. Give it a drink

    Water your poinsettia when the potting mix feels dry to the touch. It should happen before the poinsettia starts to wilt. Avoid overwatering and don't let your plant sit in water for more than 30 minutes.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 9. Breathing room

    Let the poinsettia's roots breathe. Poinsettias are often sold in plastic or foil pot covers. These decorative covers trap excess water. Cut off the very bottom of the pot cover or make several holes in it and set the plant on a plate or saucer to catch excess water.

    For this pretty look, fill a vase with cranberries, add water, and poke in poinsettia stems.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014
  • 10. Feed it to keep it

    Feed your poinsettia with a general-purpose houseplant food after the bracts fade if you want to keep the plant for the following year. Keep feeding through spring and summer, then in late September place your poinsettia where it will get bright light during the day but no extra light at night. After an 8-week period without light at night, your poinsettia should develop bracts and blooms.

    Date Published: November 26, 2012
    Date Updated: October 27, 2014

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