Do you buy a Poinsettia at Christmas - How long does it last ... ?

Do you buy a Poinsettia at Christmas - How long does it last ... ?

In 1828, Joel Roberts Poinsettia, the first U. S. minister to Mexico discovered the plant that now bears his name. Today the city of Encitas, California, is called the poinsettia capital of the world because of the large number of poinsettias found there. In Mexico, this plant is called "The Flower of the Holy Night."

According to legend, a group of worshipers gathered on Christmas Eve to leave gifts for Jesus on the altar of their church. In the crowd was a poor boy who had no present to give the baby Jesus. Upset by his inability to give a gift, the boy knelt outside the church window and prayed. In the spot where he knelt there grew a beautiful plant with vibrant red leave. He then had a gift for the baby Jesus.

But how long should last before the leaves drop off. When I have bought them they seem to be programmed for all the leqaves to fall off in under a week.

How do I look after my poinsettia after Christmas?

In previous years all the leaves drop off and the plant dies, despite my best efforts. Also, is it possible to get it to flower for next Christmas?

Answer ...

Being a native of Mexico, it is likely that because of our reduced light levels in this country your plant will get some yellowing and leaf fall. To keep the plant in good condition do not let temperatures fall below 13°C (55°F). Place in a well lit location. Water thoroughly but wait until the compost is quite dry before watering again. Overwatering is the most common cause of failure in poinsettia.

To make the plant bloom again for next Christmas, in early spring, cut back the stems to 10cm (4in). Keep the compost almost dry, place in a cool shady position. In early May, water and re-pot the plant, shoots will then soon appear. Remove some of the new shoots to leave 4-5 stems (use the prunings as cuttings). When pruning this plant, wear gloves and long sleeves as the sap can cause irritation.

As the plant requires careful light control to make the plant bloom again, in September cover the plant with a black polythene bag from early evening until the next morning so the plant is in total darkness for 14 hours. Continue daily for eight weeks, then treat as normal and hopefully the plant should flower for next Christmas time.

Hmm, if my Poinsettia can last above a week before the leaves fall off I have done well. I will certainly give the above tips a go, but for me it still be a case of hoping for the best.

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