The Poinsettia is a plant bought by a lot of people during the Holidays to decorate the table or a corner of the living room. In fact, this houseplant, introduced to the market in the early nineteenth century, became a must for many during the Christmas period.
In addition to red, we find hues of pink and cream on the market. Some bracts are also two-colored. A new fashion has emerged in recent years: poinsettias whose bracts are dyed blue, yellow and purple. Even “metallic sparkles” are added to make their colorations shiny.
Description of modern forms
While the original shrub can grow up to 3 m (10 ft.) in height, modern decorative forms that are sold in garden centers typically reach 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 ft.) in height and 55 cm. (18 inches) wide. These plants are the result of a long selection process. This has resulted in a plant that ramifies well and does not lose its leaves too quickly. Chemical treatments reduce, among other things, the length of the stems.
The Poinsettia’s winter flowering occurs just in time for Christmas, as the plants are subjected to growing conditions to produce their flowers on a specific date.
We hardly notice its greenish flowers that appear in the middle of its bracts. The cultivated forms we buy have larger bracts than the species, which can range from 7 to 12 inches (17 to 30 cm) in length. Its leaves are dark green and its edges are usually serrated.
Maintenance of the Poinsettia
With good care, a Poinsettia plant grown under good conditions, can remain in good shape until March, sometimes later. This plant is slow growing.
The plant is grown under good light in our homes until April. The Poinsettia tolerates well our house’s hot and dry temperature in the winter. A temperature of 18º C is the ideal temperature for growing this plant indoors. It can still be cultivated at temperatures between 15º C and 20º C.
When the bracts are stained, the Poinsettia usually does not require fertilization. This plant enjoys good humidity. Watering must be regular and hearty during the growth period (October to April). However, the soil should be allowed to dry slightly between watering. This plant reacts very badly to cold air drafts.