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Gift someone a poinsettia

The poinsettia is a symbol of the holiday season that just keeps getting better and better. Each year it seems that poinsettia growers bring us something new in color, shape or size of our favorite holiday plant. While most people prefer the traditional red poinsettia, it is nice to know there are a variety of colors to choose from including creamy white, pink, rose, salmon and variegated forms of pink, red and white for multicolored display.
Poinsettias have been improved in recent years to last even longer in home or office conditions. However, there are a few tips to remember that will help poinsettias stay fresh and last longer. Poinsettias are greenhouse grown in warm, moist air with daytime temperatures in the 70’s and nighttime temperatures in the 60’s. They also received bright sunlight. To help keep your poinsettia looking good through the holiday season, try to match these growing conditions as much as possible.
When shopping for poinsettias, examine the flowers to determine the maturity of the plant. Poinsettia flowers are the greenish-yellow parts that appear as swollen buds in the top center of the plant. For longer lasting plants, these flowers should be present when the poinsettia is purchased. Leaves should have a healthy green color.
It is best to place poinsettias in the sunniest exposure in your home. Some poinsettia enthusiasts will use the plants for decoration and then return them to a sunny location when the party is over. Poinsettias will also last longer where they do not have to endure frequent cold blasts of air such as those it would receive near an entrance from outdoors. It’s equally important to keep your poinsettias away from heat sources like radiators or space heaters where they may get too hot or too dry.
Grouping several plants close together can increase the humidity in the air around your poinsettias. This helps the plant stay healthy longer. Where possible, place the poinsettias in a saucer with some rocks or gravel to sit on. Put water in the saucer to the top of the rocks then place your poinsettia on top of them. This arrangement will increase beneficial humidity around your plant as the water evaporates.
There is still time to make your poinsettia selections to complete your holiday decorations but you need to hurry! Poinsettias make great gifts, too. Consider giving your special someone a poinsettia as an early Christmas present! Happy holidays!

Eddie M. L. Smith, Ph.D.