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Holiday traditions in homes and offices often include poinsettias and Christmas trees. Here's how to keep these traditional favorites fresh for the holiday season.
For poinsettias, start by purchasing fresh, healthy plants that have been cared for properly at the point of purchase. Probably the biggest enemy of poinsettias in homes and offices is fluctuating temperatures. Keep plants out of warm drafts, such as from heat ducts or radiators, and away from cold drafts of entrances. An optimum temperature range would be 60 to 68, temperatures above 75 can cause decline. Another related problem is excessively dry air.
Poinsettias commonly face overwatering, which will kill the roots. Roots of poinsettias, along with all other plants, need to have air. Don't overwater poinsettias; wait until the soil surface begins to dry slightly before watering. Don't let it completely dry out and become hard, however. Either remove foil wraps from the pot or place holes in it so water can escape.
Finally, try to place poinsettias near a bright window, but not in direct sunlight. Move it at night if a cold draft is likely to occur.
For many years, the poinsettia was considered to be poisonous. Extensive tests have proven this to be false. However, as with most plants, a child or pet could still have stomach distress if they were to eat poinsettias.
Source: Poinsettia and Christmas Tree Care by Don Janssen, UNL Extension Educator
For more information:
Poinsettia and Christmas Tree Care
Legends and Traditions of Holiday Plants (printable .pdf)
Toxicity of Common House Plants