Secrets of growing a Christmas star (poinsettia)

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28 december

Poinsettia, also known as the Christmas star, is one of the most popular plants to decorate homes during the winter holidays. With its bright red, pink or white "flowers," which are actually the colored tops of the leaves, the poinsettia brings warmth and holiday cheer into the home. In this article, we will share the secrets to successfully growing and caring for this beautiful plant.

1. Choosing a Plant

Choosing a quality poinsettia plant is the key to successfully growing this beautiful Christmas plant. Here are some tips to help you with your purchase:

Plant Health Assessment:

- Leaf Condition: Pay attention to the leaves of the poinsettia. They should be brightly colored, with no spots or signs of wilt. Yellowing leaves can be a sign of overwatering or other problems.

- Check Flowers: True poinsettia flowers are the small greenish-yellow nodules in the center of each group of red leaves (bracteae). The presence of unopened flowers indicates that the plant is fresh.

Transportation and Packaging:

- Protection from Cold: Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so make sure the plant is well packed for transportation, especially if it is cold outside.

- Carrying: Use a special plant carrying box to protect the poinsettia from damage and drafts.

2. Proper Placement

Finding the perfect location for your poinsettia in your home is an important step to ensure its health and longevity.

Optimal Lighting:

- Bright but Diffused Light: Poinsettias prefer bright but diffused light. East or west facing windows are ideal. Avoid direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves.

Protection from Exhaustion and Heat:

- Avoid Drafts: Do not place the plant in areas where there are drafts, as this can cause the plant to stress and leaves to fall off.

- Away from Heat Sources: Avoid proximity to heaters, fireplaces or other heat sources, as dry air and temperature fluctuations negatively affect the poinsettia's health.

Air Humidity:

- Maintain Humidity: Poinsettias prefer high humidity. In dry conditions, you can use a humidifier or regularly spray the air around the plant.

3. Care and Watering

Proper care and watering are key factors in maintaining the health and beauty of the poinsettia. Here are some tips to help you properly care for this plant:

Regular but Moderate Watering:

- Watering Frequency: Water your poinsettia when the top layer of soil becomes dry to the touch. Avoid over watering as this can lead to root rot.

- Watering method: It is best to water the plant by placing the pot in a basin of water for 10-15 minutes, allowing the soil to absorb the moisture. Afterward, make sure the excess water is drained off.

Maintaining Humidity:

- Spraying: Spray poinsettia leaves with water to maintain humidity, especially if your home has dry air. However, avoid spraying the flowers frequently.

4. Feeding and Pruning

Feeding for Plant Health:

- Active Growth Period: During the active growth period, usually spring and summer, poinsettias can be fed every two weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer for indoor plants.

- Fertilizing in Dormancy: During dormancy, especially after the holidays, fertilizing should be discontinued or reduced to a minimum.

Pruning to Maintain Shape:

- Pruning Time: The best time to prune poinsettias is in late winter or early spring, after flowering has finished.

- Pruning technique: Cut back the stems, leaving about 15-20 cm from the top. This stimulates the growth of new shoots and promotes a more lush bush.

Repotting if necessary:

- Repotting: If the plant becomes too big for its pot, it can be repotted into a larger pot with good drainage and good quality soil.

Conclusion

Growing poinsettias can be a fun activity that will bring a colorful mood and holiday sparkle to your home. By following these tips, you will be able to enjoy the beauty of this plant not only during the holiday season, but all year round.

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Secrets of Growing Poinsettias: A Comprehensive Care Guide