How To Grow Poinsettias?
Poinsettias from the Euphorbia family can be found everywhere during the holiday as they produce colorful bracts.
Through the winter, particularly Christmas time, it is used as a decorative object because of its attractive colors, which disappear for the rest of the year.
They produce a small, tiny yellow flower in the middle of bracts; however, the bracts are responsible for attracting insects and pollination.
If you want more information about this plant and how to grow poinsettias, you can stay with us in this article.
Basic information about Poinsettias
Poinsettias are known as a holiday plant used at Christmas time for decoration purposes.
This plant is different from houseplants because its care requirements are different. When you want to grow them as houseplants, consider some points.
But before moving to its care requirement, let’s be familiar with poinsettias’ physical features:
Colorful leaves (bracts)Unlike other flowering plants, which are attractive because of their flowers, the beauty of poinsettias belongs to their colorful leaves.
These colorful leaves appear in winter, adding color to people’s holidays.
All the leaves do not appear in different colors; while the leaves below are green, the upper leaves undergo some color changes, calling bracts showing bright colors.
These bright, colorful bracts act like petals and have a main role in the pollination process and absorb pollinators.
As flowers, Poinsettias are small and not detectable, located at the center of bracts in a cluster. Both male and female flowers emerge from a bud-like structure called cyathia, giving this plant a distinctive feature.
This plant lacks petals and has modified leaves instead of the top layers of leaves. The stamens and pistils typically match the color of the bracts in cultivars that aren’t red.
Blooming & dormancy
Poinsettia is sensitive to the day length and response as days become shorter in winter, known as a photoperiodic response.
When in the winter time, days become shorter, and nights longer, this plant starts producing flowers, buds, and modified leaves.
If any lights remove the darkness of night, the bloom of this plant begins to drop. If you have a little light in your home at night, you should block the light or transfer the plant to another place.
When you purchase poinsettias in winter, you may see them losing their bracts and be disappointed that your plant dies. But the truth is after being exposed to several nights for producing colorful bracts, this plant goes into a dormancy period.
Cultivation of Poinsettias
Poinsettias are from a large botanic family called Euphorbiaceae, including annual trees.
Some members of the euphorias family are succulent and similar to cacti, such as the African milk tree, while others, like Poinsettias, are beautiful.
Poinsettias are also known as Christmas flowers, lobster flowers, flame leaves, or painted leaves, describing their colorful bracts.
In Spain, they are known as “flor de Pascua,” which refers to when these plants bloom between Christmas and January 6th, a day of celebration for Epiphany.
This plant is native to North and Central America, including Mexico to Guatemala.
In nature, you can find this plant in tropical arid forests, which lack rain for periods, unlike tropical rainy forests.
Poinsettias, originating from arid forests, have adapted to survive in dry conditions by entering a dormant phase after their flowering period. During this phase, they shed their leaves and bracts.
Poinsettia grows up to 10-2- feet in length as a perennial shrub and thrives in the region with a 9-11 USDA hardiness zone.
How to grow & care for Poinsettias?
Here are key points that you need to consider when you want to grow a Poinsettias:
Light & temperature requirements
- To grow the poinsettias, it need to be exposed to direct sunlight; it does well in indirect bright, ranging between 6 to 8 hours a day.
- If your plant is indoors, place it near the south or east-west windows to receive indirect light. But if your plant is outdoors, the plant can appreciate the partial sun.
- The indoor temperature should be set between 65-70°F, and remember, don’t put the plant in an arid or cooler place below the 50°because it cannot tolerate it and die.
- This plant needs moist soil, and as longer humidity it is exposed, the extended time it blooms, and it is the other step to growing poinsettias.
- The nut doesn’t saturate the plant with waterlogged; pour water when the compost is dry. Excessive water can lead to rotting roots.
- Leave the plant dry and keep watering the plant to create dampness. You can put the pot in a large bowl or sink, drain the plant, and allow the excessive water to get out.
- Soil requirements
Poinsettia appreciates the well-drainage soil, which is slightly acidic. When you plant the Poinsettia, choose a pot with drainage holes.
Consider this: in the growing seasons, your plant loses water quickly, which might be due to the formation of rootbound.
If your Poinsettia grows in a pot, it needs a fertilizer with balanced organic like 4-4-4 NPL formulation in the growing seasons once a month.
For outdoor poinsettias, you must apply a single fertilizer in the springtime. When the plant undergoes the dormancy period, it should not be fertilized.
This plant may not be large enough to be pruned, but pruning the plant can encourage its growth. To do this, start with one-third of the plant when spring begins.
Pests & diseases
Poinsettias are sensitive to aphids and mealybugs; the good news is that if your plant is affected, you can cure your plant with a large amount of watering and applying insecticidal soap or neem oil.
- Those plants that grow in regions with warm and humid air conditions are susceptible to bacterial leaf spots.
- The bacteria that cause this disease is called Xanthomonas campestris pv. poinsettiicola, and symptoms of this disease can be detected by yellow or tan lesions on leaves. If the disease is not treated immediately, the leaves continue to yellow and drop.
- Poinsettia Scab is another disease that affects this plant, caused by a Sphaceloma poinsettiae fungus. The symptom of this disease is recognizable by small yellow spots on leaves. And if it is not treated quickly, it will lead to brown spots surrounded by yellow halos. Also, you can see lesions in the stems, causing stems to be infected.
- To protect the plant against these diseases, you must provide enough space to enjoy good air circulation.
- Another point you must consider is watering the plant at a low level instead of pouring water from the upper side and affecting foliage.
- Please don’t place your plant near the affected plants since their spores are transmitted from one plant to another.
- Powdery Mildew is another fungal disease that different species of the Oidium genus can cause.
- When the plant is exposed to cover %95 humidity with moderate temperature between 68-86°F, it is more likely that your plant is affected by this fungal.
- To preserve your plant against this disease, keep your plant well pruned to avoid overcrowding, particularly in highly humid areas.
- The symptoms of this disease can be shown with yellow or brown spots on the top layer of foliage.
- Remove the affected leaves and bracts after detecting your plant with powdery Mildew to avoid spreading the disease.
- If you still see powdery Mildew on your plant after removing the affected leaves, you cannot apply neem oil.
- Propagating Poinsettia
- To propagate the Poinsettia, you must cut the stem from a mature plant during the winter, or you can do it in the summertime when the plant produces and cuts new plants.
- When new plants grow after the dormancy period, you can cut and plant them with the help of rooting hormones.
- Cut 3 to 4 inches long from the stem having leaf nodes and remove the leaves from the lower half of each cutting.
- The roots will grow from these leaf nodes. Place half of the cutting in the root hormones, cover the nodes, and insert them into the holes in the planting medium.
- Press the medium firmly around the Bottom of the cuttings. Spray the leaves of the cuttings with water and either place a humidity dome over the flat or cover individual pots with a clear plastic bag. Put the containers in a warm area with bright, indirect light and make the cuttings wet daily.
- Alternatively, Poinsettia can be cultivated using seeds; however, when propagating from seeds, it is important to note that the appearance of the resulting seedlings may vary and cannot be guaranteed to be identical to the parent plant because most poinsettia cultivators originate from hybrids.
Different types of Poinsettias
Although there are over 100 poinsettia cultivators, in this article, we introduce you to the most common types that you can see in the area:
This type of Poinsettia, also known as glitter poinsettias, has solid colors that come in red and pink. They have white or cream spots on the bracts, making this plant attractive and distinctive.
The bracts of this type appear in two tones featuring dark colors like red and pink in the center, surrounded by light colors such as yellow or cream.
Princettia max white
This cultivator is a hybrid of both E. pulcherrima and E.cornastra genes, making pure white bracts that last longer and are small.
The name of this type of Poinsettia backs its bracts shape, which appears like a cluster of roses. The traditional type of rose poinsettia comes in red. However, you can find it in white and pink roses.
The bracts of this type are like the autumn leaves in yellow color with the hue of pink dots. If you want to enjoy the beauty of Poinsettia before Christmas, this type is the best one.
Christmas beauty cinnamon
The bracts of Christmas beauty cinnamon appear in pink, varying from pale pastel to warmer pink.
How to encourage the poinsettias to bloom again?
- Encouraging the Poinsettia to bloom again takes work and requires effort and patience. If you insist on this subject, you can read this section.
- When Christmas is over, you can add some liquid fertilizer high in potassium, like tomato food.
- When April comes, prune the Poinsettia up to 10 cm and preserve the area’s temperature for 13°C. At the beginning of May, change the pot off the plant and choose a larger filling with peat-free, loam-based compost, then put your pot in place with humidity and under indirect light. Make sure that the temperature is under 18°C, not more.
- To encourage the plant to bloom again, you must provide a situation like you found at Christmas time, including short days and nights for 12 hours and keeping the temperature stable around 18°C.
- When your plant starts to bloom, sprinkle water on the leaves to keep them wet daily.
How to choose the right type of Poinsettia?
To choose the right type of Poinsettia, you can read these tips to have a healthy plant for a longer time:
- Choose those with dark green foliage unless the cultivators have naturally bright green foliage.
- Don’t opt for those which have yellow or wilted foliage.
- Plants with green colors on the edges in bracts are not suitable.
- The flowers of Poinsettia should not be opened or spread.
- Check both sides of the leaves to see if the plant is free of any pests and fungi.
- Don’t buy Poinsettia that are placed near the door because they cannot last for a long time.
- Another point that you should consider is the flowers of the plant. Plants with white, yellow, or green buds can live longer, while those with yellow pollen cannot stay for an extended time.
Common issues with Poinsettia
When you grow Poinsettia, you may detect some issues with your plant. Here are some of these problems that you can see on your plant:
- Yellow leaves
The color of leaves can turn yellow from the veins in the lower leaves due to different reasons:
- While your plant suffers a lack of magnesium.
- Or when they do not receive enough molybdenum, they should be provided with soil having over 5.5 PH.
- Your plant is saturated with over-fertilizing.
- If powdery Mildew appears on your plant.
- When the soil mix is too much acidic.
- And if your plant gets waterlogged, needs more light, or is exposed to low temperatures.
- Brown stems & leaves
If your plant is affected by a canker, you will see brown spots on different parts of the plant. The first that can help plants is removing infected parts of plants. Another issue that causes brown stems or leaves on Poinsettia is having rotted roots.
So, it would be best to detect the affected places and, after removing them, repot the plant in a new pot filled with healthy soil. Before planting the Poinsettia, apply fungicide to make the pot sterile.
- Dropping leaves
Losing leaves is almost a step before dying, which is not good news. It can occur due to overwatering, underwatering, overfertilizing, or even being affected by canker, leading to rotting roots. If some leaves begin to drop, it can be because of not being exposed to enough light.
The Bottom line
Poinsettia, or Christmas plant, is one of the appealing plants that can be held as a houseplant. The Poinsettia is a remarkable plant because of its vibrant red bracts and symbolic significance.
From its origins in Mexico to its widespread popularity as a holiday decoration, the Poinsettia prefers environments with tropical conditions.
In this article, we cover all information about how to grow Poinsettia and hope you find this article useful in caring the Poinsettia.
Which type of Poinsettia do you have in your home? Is it healthy or not?
Please tell us in the comment section.