Poinsettia PitfallsPoinsettias are the single most popular houseplant during the Christmas season in Canada. Every year, millions are purchased –and for good reason! Their red, pink, or white bracts are the perfect splash of colour when used in concert with other holiday décor. However, poinsettias are sensitive to excessive heat, light, and cold. In the wrong location, you might find your poinsettia’s leaves yellowing and dropping rapidly, and the normally colourful bracts faded and wishy-washy. Careful placement in the house will ensure your plant stays beautiful and healthy through to Christmas and beyond, and we’re here to help!

Transporting Your Poinsettia

Proper care of your poinsettia starts the moment you purchase it. Poinsettias need to be protected from extreme cold. We always ensure our poinsettias are carefully wrapped before we allow our customers to leave the store with them. Make your poinsettia purchase the last item on your Christmas shopping to-do list for the day — they should not be left in a cold car while you run other errands!

As soon as your poinsettia is safely home, unwrap it immediately — don’t leave it wrapped for any longer than you must. The leaves of your poinsettia will yellow in the following days if it has been left sleeved for too long.

Location, Location!

Siting is everything when it comes to poinsettias. In the right place, they will largely be maintenance free (except for watering). In the wrong place, they will cause you serious trouble! Below are some of the most important points:

  • Ensure your poinsettia is placed in a room with high ambient light. Avoid placing it where it will receive direct sunlight.
  • Though it’s tempting to place poinsettias near a fireplace or atop a mantle, this is a bad idea. Live fires will dry out your plants incredibly fast.
  • The same goes for hot air registers – pay attention to where hot air vents from your furnace are and situate your poinsettia a safe distance away.
  • Cold is as bad as hot! Don’t put your poinsettia near a door leading outside. The blasts of cold air it receives as the door opens and closes are bad for your plant.

The Finer Points

If you follow the above instructions, you’re in good shape to have a trouble-free poinsettia season. Below you’ll find some additional tips for ongoing care of your poinsettias.

  • The ideal temperature for poinsettias is 22 degrees Celcius. If you can keep it close to (and not above) this temperature, they will hold their colour for much longer.
  • Water your poinsettia thoroughly if the soil surface is dry to the touch.
  • If there is still water sitting in the saucer underneath your poinsettia after 10 minutes, dump this water away to avoid root rot.

Poinsettias and Your Pets

A final note on poinsettias: though their toxicity has been greatly exaggerated, you should keep your pets from nibbling on them – it’s bad for the plant and for your dog or cat.

Don’t worry! If your pet does take a few bites, they may experience some discomfort but poinsettias are mostly harmless unless eaten in huge quantities. The sap usually causes minor irritation and drooling.

Speaking of pet-safe houseplants, take a look at our recent blog post for more advice on Fido-friendly plants!