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Top five poinsettia care tips

The Christmas season is traditionally a time to celebrate with family and friends, and festively decorated homes provide just the right atmosphere. A key holiday decoration is the poinsettia, known in some countries as the Christmas star. Its brilliantly coloured leaves welcome guests and spread holiday cheer. And it is so easy to care for!

Red, white, cream, yellow, pink, rose and apricot, from gentle pastel to extravagantly vibrant, from subtle ombré to distinctive speckles – poinsettias come in an impressive range of colours. Like the Christmas tree, the Advent wreath and the Advent calendar, they are an indispensable part of traditional Christmas decorations. Tastefully and stylishly arranged, these magnificent classic symbols of the season provide a flair that can be anything from traditional to modern. And they are quite easy to care for. With our top five maintenance tips, your poinsettias will thrive well past the holiday season – whether or not you have a green thumb!


1. Inspect before buying

Poinsettias are available in shops everywhere as of November. If you want your plants to thrive for a long period of time, you should carefully check their quality. Dense foliage and yellow-green flower buds are signs of freshness. The ‘flowers’ are not the colourful, star-shaped, rippled or serrated leaves (which are referred to as bracts), but rather the little buds in the centre. If they are wilted, select another plant. Do not take the ones that have been standing in breezy entrance areas, for example, because poinsettias are not at all fond of draughts!


2. Avoid cold and wind on the trip home

Even though they are sometimes called Christmas stars, poinsettias are not fond of cold. After all, they originally came from Mexico. So it is important to limit their exposure to the elements as much as possible on the way home. Well packed to protect against wind and cold, they should be taken home quickly to where it’s warm.


3. No direct sunlight

Poinsettias like light and warmth. But they should be protected from direct sunlight just as much as from draughts. They do best at temperatures between 15 and 22 degrees Celsius. Tip: do not let them stand right next to fruit or vegetables, or their beautiful bracts will quickly wilt!


4. Less is more 

Too little is preferable to too much: poinsettias do not like standing in water. Do not let water build up in the plant pot; pour it out promptly, because otherwise the leaves might fade or fall. A small amount of lukewarm water once every two days is ample. To enhance the splendour of the bracts, add some commercial plant food to their water every month.


5. The right cut

Poinsettias present a superb appearance not only when potted. These versatile plants can also be cut for a vase or other artistic display. When cutting poinsettias, it is important to promptly stop the flow of sap. To do so, hold the cut stems in water heated to around 60 degrees Celsius for about five seconds, and then place them in cold water that contains a freshness retainer. Poinsettia cuttings will keep for a surprisingly long time. They should hold their vibrant colour for about two weeks. Whether as part of a bouquet with other winter flowers or as single sprigs on place settings, they make a special greeting that is sure to delight family, friends and other guests.