This time of year we fall victim to, what I term, holiday fever. Unlike spring fever, it is a shorter, much more expensive seasonal affliction lasting to January 2nd leaving you 10 pounds heavier and your wallet 10 pounds lighter. At some point, you realize you have acquired a poinsettia. While it is bright, beautiful, and festive during December, it quickly seems to wilt or drop leaves as soon as January begins.
So what happened? Poinsettias are native to Mexico and prefer temperature at a toasty 70°. They, like many of us, really don’t care for the cold temperatures. If they are placed near a drafty window or in an area regularly subjected to blasts of cold air, they will slowly begin to decline. Poinsettias prefer even soil moisture, not too wet or too dry. The pretty foil wrapping they come in is capable of holding enough water to keep the soil too wet, causing it to look slightly wilted. A look that encourages more than one person to apply more water.
There is always the very confident plant person who swears they can keep poinsettias alive for years into the future and even get them to bloom. There is truth to this statement, but the poinsettia will never be the full, luscious plant with showy blooms that you brought home. Commercial greenhouse growers provide perfect amounts of light, humidity, water, fertilizer and growth regulators to produce beautiful plants. Most leftover poinsettias tend to have 2 - 3 small, stunted, sad leaves on the end of each stem. Which begs the question, should I just put it out of its misery or continue to torture the poor thing?
One question the persistent always ask when you are talking about poinsettias is, “Are they poisonous?” The answer is no. OSU did research a couple of decades ago, showing no adverse effects on rats ingesting all parts of the poinsettia plant. Other sources have confirmed this research.
So, enjoy your poinsettia while it is at its best and decide what the future holds for it later. Happy Holidays! Kim