How to to keep your poinsettias healthy this winter season

Dec 9, 2022, 12:57 PM
Utah State University Extension horticulturist, Taun Beddes shares how to keep your poinsettias hea...
Utah State University Extension horticulturist, Taun Beddes shares how to keep your poinsettias healthy this holiday season. (Photo credit: USU)
(Photo credit: USU)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s poinsettia season! And to get the most out of this favorite holiday plant, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, Taun Beddes, shares a few tips and tricks to keep your poinsettias healthy this holiday season and beyond. 

At the store

When shopping for a poinsettia, gently tap the pot to ensure there are no insects flying around.

This will avoid contaminating other house plants with insects. Once you get home from purchasing your plant, remove the plastic pot from the decorative sleeve and water the poinsettia in the sink.

Watering and placing the poinsettia

Use lukewarm water and allow the water to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Typically, it takes 15 – 20 minutes to drain after watering. By allowing water to drain, you can avoid root rot and a dead poinsettia.

The plant is native to Mexico and Central America, therefore, here in Utah, it’s important to minimize exposure to colder air and extreme temperatures. 

“Keep your poinsettia away from heat vents as well as cold drafts,” Beddes said. 

He said plants thrive near a bright south or west window, and if given sufficient light will live longer. 

The history of the poinsettia in the U.S.

Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first appointed U.S. ambassador to Mexico, introduced the poinsettia to the United States. In 1825, Poinsett visited the city of Taxco and sent a few plants to his home in Greenville, South Carolina. 

Back home, Poinsett, a skilled botanist himself, propagated the plants and began giving them to friends and botanical gardens. And in 1833, the plant was given the name Poinsett, named after Joel, according to the Illinois Extension webpage

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How to to keep your poinsettias healthy this winter season