Northwest NEWS

December 21, 1998

Home & Garden

How to care for your holiday poinsettia

The brightly colored parts of the poinsettia are actually not flowers, they are instead specialized leaves, called bracts, which form immediately prior to the appearance of the tiny flowers.

   To keep poinsettias thriving, they require high light. However, if you intend to keep them just through the holidays, they can be placed in the lower light of a room's interior.

   Thoroughly water poinsettias when the soil feels dry to the touch and before the plant wilts. A poinsettia will lose its lower leaves if it is allowed to wilt. When watering, continue to add water until it runs out the drain holes. Remember to remove all water that accumulates in a saucer in order to prevent the roots from decaying.

   To retain a poinsettia's bright colors, wait until early spring to resume fertilizing poinsettias. Thereafter, apply fertilizer during the months of March through October.