The nicknamed Poinsettia Christmas star is in many homes the star of the end-of-year festive tables to which this exotic evergreen plant brings an extremely colorful note. But for many of us, it’s hard to save a Poinsettia beyond New Year’s Eve! However, it is not one of the most fragile plants. It is therefore quite possible to keep a Christmas star for a long time and see it bloom again several winters in a row. Here are the tips for pamper a Poinsettia and spare him the trash after only a few days at home.
Caring for a Poinsettia or Christmas Star
That beautiful tropical plant from Central America adapts to our interiors as soon as the ambient temperature is between 16 and 22°C. Below 15°, it turns yellow and all its leaves fall. But she also needs a beautiful light without being too strong. This plant is therefore placed in the light, not far from a window or a bay window provided that it is not due south, and taking care to protect the plant from direct sunlighteven in winter.
Once you have taken care to install it in the right place, all that remains is to give your Poinsettia the little care it deserves.
The Poinsettia does not like excess humidity. Also, it is important not to leave water in the cache-pot or the saucer because this inevitably leads to the rotting of the roots and then of the whole plant. Conversely, if it lacks water, its leaves turn brown around their edges and then drop. Each watering must therefore be moderate, but the Christmas Star needs to be watered frequently, every two or three days, with temperate water – preferably at 20°C – and if possible not calcareous. Watering should be reduced as soon as flowering ends.
In our overheated interiors, the Poinsettia can very quickly wither because thehygrometry is insufficient. Leaves and bracts then drop rapidly. This drawback can be overcome by misting to create a more humid atmosphere. Here again, it is preferable to use a non-calcareous water like the rainwater that we think to recover. Another solution is to put the pot on a tray covered with well-moistened clay pebbles.
No fertilizer is added throughout the flowering period. On the other hand, it is when the Poinsettia no longer blooms that one can, every four weeks, diluteliquid fertilizer in the irrigation water so that it receives all the nutrients it needs.
It is especially thealeurode which can infest the Poinsettia kept in a too dry environment. It is therefore essential to spray the shrub regularly to protect it against these parasites which are particularly rampant during the winter.
Experts recommend to carve a poinsettia as soon as spring comes around. This is usually when the bracts fall off. The size of the Christmas Star boils down to reduce about fifteen centimeters the length of the branches that we want to keep, and air the tuft by removing all the stems that grow towards the heart of the plant.
We always use a perfectly sharp pruning shears, which must be disinfected before and after pruning each plant to prevent any risk of contamination. To do this, simply pass the blades of the shears over a flame or alcohol.
It is best to wear gloves when handling a Poinsettia or trimming it as it produces a toxic juice. Children should not touch this type of plant, nor people allergic au latex.
Repot the Poinsettia
The Poinsettia should be repotted after pruning, in the spring, when it seems a little cramped in his jar. We choose a slightly larger container than the previous one, fully drilled, and in which a drainage layer is first deposited. The Poinsettia needs a mixture of one part sand to two parts leaf mold.
When the plant is unpotted, lightly scrape the old surface soil and around the roots in order to eliminate it. All that’s left is to place the foot in its new pot so that the top of the clod is 2 or 3 cm below the edge, then fill in with the rest of the substrate which must be lightly tamped by hand around the roots.
After this repotting, place the Christmas star at rest, in a well-lit room at a temperature of around 10 to 12°C. During this period, the soil must be almost dry. From May, after the Ice Saintswe can place the pot outside and water the Poinsettia regularly but moderately.
It’s not for his flowers that the Poinsettia is sought after but for its bracts. The first, relatively insignificant because of their very small size, are greenish-yellow and flourish in the heart of beautiful leafy bracts very attractive, red in color, but also depending on the variety, yellow, white or cream, and can measure a good fifteen centimeters in length.
Pour promote the production of new bracts in the Poinsettia, it is essential to remove the faded leaves and flowers, to maintain a good hygrometry and not to forget to give it fertilizer for flowering plants, as we have specified previously, at the rate of a times per month.
But it must also be placed in a dark place so that its bracts are colored, and this for at least 12 hours a day. It is therefore necessary to create a artificial darkness because the night period is too short to suffice. So either the Poinsettia is placed daily in a blind roomeither it is covered with a paper bag which is removed after 12 hours, an operation repeated daily so as to obtain this essential alternation between light and dark until the bracts show their beautiful coloring.