How to grow the poinsettia: the secrets to keep it beautiful all year round
Are you about to buy a poinsettia but don't know how to keep it at home?
Do you want to give it to someone but you don't know which one to choose?
Are you disheartened by the fact that he dies right after the holidays?
Do you think you don't have a "green thumb" because you can't keep it all year round?
Quiet, here we are We are Agriculture and today we will tell you all the secrets on how to grow the Christmas star.
The Christmas Star (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
The poinsettia is an ornamental plant originally from Mexico, a country where it is born wild and can even reach 4 meters in height. It is also known as "Poinsettia", a name that derives from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to the United States in 1825.
In the world, the poinsettia is also known with other names: Mexican flame leaf, Christmas star, Winter rose, Noche Buena, Lalupatae, Atatürk çiçeği (“Flower of Atatürk”, in Turkey), Αλεξανδρινό (“Alexandrinò”, in Greece).
The poinsettia is an ornamental plant, purchased for the beauty of its plants red leaves which remember i Christmas colors. Quite often those red leaves are thought to be the petals of large flowers, but in reality they are not.
They are called scientifically bracts and they are modified leaves: they have lost chlorophyll and have assumed gods colored pigments. In addition to the common red, these leaves can also be yellow, white, pink. The real flowers, small and yellow, are found in the center of the bracts.
Christmas star: where to buy it
Around this time, you can find a poinsettia practically in any flower shop, in any nursery and even in the squares where they are sold for charity.
At the time of purchase, I suggest you check the roots if possible. Good roots have a white color and are very numerous. If they are too thin and few, it is good to choose another plant.
How to cultivate the poinsettia
So here we come to the most important moment: how to cultivate the Christmas star.
Once we get our new plant into the house, we have to immediately find the most suitable place for her to her.
It is therefore essential to put it in a dry place, away from direct light, radiators, fireplace and other heat sources.
It is also important not to place it near windows or openings it could enter cold air.
The poinsettia in fact suffers a lot from sudden changes in temperature, excessive heat and cold.
Another precaution to take into account when choosing the place to put our Christmas star is that of do not put it in places that children or pets can reach.
The latex that sometimes comes out of the leaves and stem is stinging and could even cause erythema.
If it is ingested, it is good to call your doctor. Ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or even loss of consciousness. Remember to do not touch it without gloves and if necessary wash your hands.
If you want change the vase you can read this simple guide, remembering that the roots of this plant are very delicate and it goes handled with extreme care.
The topsoil best to plant the poinsettia in is a light type, perhaps with a little sand. There temperature ideal ranges from 14 to 23 ° C.
Regarding watering, in winter it is good to water it at least once a week, while in summer even 2-3 times.
The important thing is to water it only when the soil is completely dry because otherwise, if water stagnation occurs, the plant risks dying.
For this reason, it may be appropriate to add a little sand in the pot in order to make the earth more permeable. An excellent solution could also be to put someexpanded clay at the foot of the vase. The expanded clay in granules, in fact, retains water and releases it in the form of moisture when the plant needs it.
As for the fertilization, remember that it must be done in small doses at least once a month and certainly just purchased. The main fertilization is that of Potassium and Phosphorus, which should be done every 15-30 days as needed, especially in autumn. If desired, it is also possible to fertilize with moist acids, in case of wanting to increase the vigor of the roots (useful immediately after repotting) and of the whole plant.
In areas of Italy where winter is milder (South), the poinsettia can be grown even in the garden. In this case, it is good to be very careful not to allow them to suffer frosts that could kill them.
Regarding the lightinstead, one of the most serious mistakes is to keep the poinsettia in rooms where, even at night, it is possible that someone turns on the light of the chandelier even for a few minutes or, even worse, leave it in front of the Christmas lights placed perhaps on the Christmas tree or in some other place.
The Christmas star, in fact, is a short-day plant, that is, it needs a few hours of light a day to explain its vegetative activity well. For this reason, it is good to choose a place where the light, both solar and artificial, is not received by the plant for at least 14-15 hours a day.
The optimal light period, therefore, is 14-15 hours of darkness and 9-10 hours of light (ideal from 7:00 to 16:00). It would be better if you had a closed veranda available.
Poinsettia: how to make it bloom
In the set of secrets on how to cultivate the Christmas star, there is also what concerns how to make it bloom. As we have just said, the poinsettia is a short-day plant and therefore, for flowering, it needs a reduced number of light.
In greenhouses and nurseries where these plants are grown by the hundreds for commercial sale, poinsettias are kept in the dark for many hours.
If that's not possible, they come covered with very dark or black fabric. In this way, the plant does not receive the light rays and continues its flowering activity. Another aid to flowering can be the contribution of humic acids, potassium and phosphorus through the fertilization.
Diseases and remedies
To know how to cultivate the poinsettia, it is also good to know all the potential diseases that our plant could encounter. In reality, however, the Poinsettia does not have any particular diseases to which we must be careful, because what could really harm the plant are the long exposure to light, too much water brought in through watering, cold and frosts.
If you've watered your poinsettia too much, there may be some dark spots on the leaves, which in a short time collapse and then dry up. Another consequence of too much water intake is the appearance of a gray dust between leaves or stems: this is a symptom of a botrytis attack, a mold that tends to develop very quickly.
In each of these cases, it is good cut off the diseased leaves and twigs or dried to encourage the growth of new healthy plant parts. Eventually even a small one can help fertilization of Potassium, Magnesium or humic acids.
How to keep the Christmas star for the new year
We have clarified how to cultivate the Poinsettia, now let's move on to how to keep it. At the end of the Christmas holidays, the plant begins to deteriorate, to lose its red leaves and slowly some of its parts dry out. Many think it is dead and therefore throw it away. Mistaken! This is the normal life cycle of the plant.
If you know how to keep the poinsettia, next year we could have our beautiful and vigorous plant without having to go out and buy a new one and spend money unnecessarily.
First, it is crucial to make one pruning to remove all dry and damaged parts. Pruning should be repeated at least once a month until the end of summer, depending on the need. Once spring is late and there is no longer the risk of late frosts, it is possible to place our Christmas star on a balcony, in a shady place so that it does not receive direct light.
Towards the end of April, it is good to carry out a repotting followed by a good fertilization. At the time of repotting it is essential take care of the roots and the stem, which are very delicate.
It is essential, if it is kept indoors, do not expose it to air conditioning and intense aeration. Towards the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, it must be brought indoors again, fertilized and begin to respect its few hours of daily light.
If you want to make a gift to a friend, towards the end of spring and the beginning of summer you can cut, with a very sharp knife (no shears), a sprig to create a cutting. the procedure is as follows:
- Choose a branch without flowers
- Remove any leaves that may be present
- Put the sprig in a glass of warm water
- Transplant into a new pot
Now that we have revealed the secrets of how to grow the Poinsettia, all we have to do is wish you Happy Holidays ... from all the Staff of We are Agriculture.
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Poinsettia, take care of a star
Every promise is a debt, so here we are to talk about the poinsettia!
In the last article (6 plants to give for Christmas) we told you that the great protagonist of the holidays needed an article of her own, this is because the poinsettia or Euphorbia pulcherrima is a plant that really deserves to be known!
The name itself speaks volumes, in fact, if its most common name already communicates that it is the queen of Christmas, the botanical one gives us an idea of its beauty. Euphorbia distinguishes the genus to which the plant belongs but "Pulcherrima" instead highlights its beauty, as if to identify it as the most beautiful of the Euphorbiaceae.
This evergreen deciduous shrub develops considerably when it grows in the wild, so much so that it can reach 2-3 meters in height! In homes, however, it grows much more contained, generally not exceeding one meter.
Seeing it it is easy to think that the "red leaves" are actually the flowers of the plant, but this is not the case. In fact, the Christmas star produces gods ciazi, small roundish green or yellowish flowers, gathered in inflorescences consisting of 4-8 small flowers.
While the "red leaves" actually are bracts, that is, modified leaves that accompany the flowers, protecting them. Normally the bracts are green but in other cases, like this one, they take on bright colors that immediately catch the eye, this to act as an attraction for pollinating animals.
In winter you can enjoy these magnificent colors, while during the rest of the year the poinsettia rests, showing itself as a small bush with green leaves.
However, there are many varieties of Euphorbia pulcherrima, born from the experiments of hybridizers, each of them differs for many factors including color (they can be pink, yellowish, white) or by shape and number of leaves!
- Poinsettia: care and maintenance
After describing the general characteristics of this plant and be allowed even a little excursus imaginative about its origins, it is time to return to serious talk and address, in detail, the issue of its care and maintenance.
As we all know, in fact, the poinsettia is a plant particularly fragile it is delicate and it is not at all rare, unfortunately, to see her die shortly after having purchased it: this, in the vast majority of cases, is due to the fact that she has been given wrong and unsuitable treatments for her fragile nature.
In order to avoid running into a situation of this type, in fact, it is good to know exactly what our star needs to feel good and act accordingly.
How to grow poinsettia: general rules
Here we are. In the end we decided to buy a beautiful Christmas star all to ourselves (or maybe they gave it to us), which now makes a fine show in our home. Where to place it, then?
Should we leave it in its pot or is it better to transplant it into a larger one? To try to answer these and other questions, all of which are more than legitimate, we have developed a list of general rules to follow which, point by point, explain how this plant should be grown. So let's go and read it together:
- first we must find for our star a dry placeaway both from direct light (especially artificial light), as well as from heat sources such as the fireplace and the radiator.
- One of the problems that characterize this plant is the fact that it turns out particularly sensitive to thermal changes: putting it near a window, therefore, is not a good idea at all. In general, in fact, the Christmas star should be in an environment with a mild temperature, between 14 ° and 23 °.
- As we have already explained, the Christmas star secretes a substance that is irritating to humans and potentially lethal for pets: if we have children, four-legged friends or both at home, it is very important to keep them all away from the plant. Also for this reason, in case we had to handle the plant, it would be better to do it with gloves.
- If we decide to transplant our star into a more spacious pot, in order to allow it to grow and become even more beautiful, we must perform the operation with great attention. This plant has in fact some very delicate roots and must therefore be handled with extreme care (and with gloves!).
- The ideal soil in which to transplant or keep it is the light type, perhaps mixed with a little sand. An excellent solution is to put expanded clay at the foot of the vase which, thanks to its ability to retain water, would allow our star to remain always hydrated.
- To make the star flourish, his is essential fertilization: it must be carried out every fifteen or thirty days depending on the need. The one mainly used is based on potassium and phosphorus, but also one composed of moist acids can be very useful for fortifying the roots, especially after a possible transplant.
These that we have listed, therefore, represent the general rules to keep our poinsettia healthy.
Even if we follow them correctly, however, at the end of the holidays we could still notice with dismay that the plant is losing its beautiful red leaves, as well as drying up in many of its parts. Where did we go wrong? The answer is: we have not made any mistakes.
The poinsettia, in fact, is not dying at all and, therefore, absolutely must not be thrown away (this would really kill it!). On the contrary, it is simply going through one very normal phase of withering, from which it can safely recover thanks to a vigorous pruning. We talk about it in the next section.
How and when to prune the Christmas star
Like any other plant, even the poinsettia it needs to be pruned from time to time. If we carry out this operation correctly and at the right times, the following Christmas we will be able to amaze our friends by still showing off our beautiful star, proudly declaring that it is the same one they gave us the previous year.
How, then, to achieve this satisfactory goal? Quite simply, eliminating them all from the plant the dry and damaged parts: an operation that must be repeated at least once a month until the end of summer, also depending on the state of the plant.
In spring, however, when we are sure that there is no longer the risk of late frosts, we can put our star on the balcony or on the windowsill, as long as it is a shady place and not affected by direct light. Repotting at the end of April could also be a good way to take care of the plant's roots, fortifying them together with the stem.
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Grow holly in pots
Holly can be grown in pots as an ornamental plant. In this case you need to have some extra care in the treatment. In winter it is necessary protect the plant from frost, taking it to a more sheltered place or covering it with a plastic sheet.
After the purchase in the nursery, it is necessary to repot it using a pot that is double the size of the one purchased.
Repotting should be repeated about every two years, until the plant develops a nice trunk.
For repotting operations a universal soil is sufficient, like this, mixed with a little river sand.
In potted holly cultivation, greater care must be taken when irrigating. In summer it must be guaranteed at least once a week. Furthermore, the earth must not be wet too much and water stagnation must be avoided.
Plants to give for Christmas: 3 perfect ideas for everyone
Are you looking for some gift ideas for Christmas? Plants have always been a real must, a [...]
Are you looking for some gift idea for Christmas? Plants have always been a real must, a gift that is always accepted with enthusiasm and appreciated, especially by those who have a green thumb or who love this kind of thing. However, they exist plants to give at Christmas and plants that are more appropriate to donate at other times of the year: the seasonality rule must never be forgotten and it is useless to donate a spring plant at the end of December because it would end up having a bad end!