Poinsettias are a Christmas icon in North America, perhaps only second to the Christmas tree. Native to Mexico, poinsettias are a beautifully dramatic tropical plant. In their natural environment, they can grow up to 16 feet tall. When they bloom in December, they put on a spectacular show across their entire native region.
If you've just gotten a Poinsettia for the first time, or if you've had trouble keeping them happy in the past, you may be curious about how to keep them happy past Christmas day. They're not too difficult to please; they just have a few particular preferences. When you pick up a tree or poinsettia at the grocery store, they generally don't come with any care tips. But, if you buy Christmas trees and poinsettias at Lehigh Valley Home & Garden Center, we're more than happy to help you get to know the particulars of your chosen variety.
POINSETTIA CARE REQUIREMENTS
Like most plants, poinsettias need light, water, and soil to grow. But they also have specific requirements for each.
Poinsettias are incredibly sensitive to temperatures. Never expose poinsettias to temperatures below 55 ̊F, or they will experience damage. Buy your poinsettia on a day with milder weather. If you can only make it to the garden center on a day that happens to be chillier, bring a blanket with you to protect your poinsettia. Don't leave it to sit in the car while shopping—it might not be in great shape when you return!
In your house, your poinsettia will prefer to be kept in temperatures between 65-75 ̊F during the day, with a drop to 60-65 ̊F at night. That temperature drop at night is important; it helps them maintain their vibrancy. Keep poinsettias away from cold drafts from doors and hot drafts from the furnace.
Poinsettia needs at least 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight every day. They'll do best in a bright room with a south-facing window.
When to Water
Poinsettias like damp soil. But, they do not like wet roots. Water yours with room temperature water when the top of the soil is dry and drain any extra water that drains out. Check the soil every few days.
Are Poinsettias Poisonous?
No. If kids or pets eat the leaves of poinsettia they'll probably feel a little sick, but that should be it.
With continued watering and care, your poinsettia will last well into the new year. You can keep your poinsettia around as a houseplant for a long time to come, but it is very difficult to make them bloom again. The conditions required for them to bloom are very particular. When you're finished with your poinsettia, you can toss it on the compost heap and let it help you build great soil for your garden next year.
FRESH CUT CHRISTMAS TREE CARE
Fresh cut Christmas trees also require a bit of particular care to keep them fresh and green through the holiday season. Here at Lehigh Valley, we carry freshly cut Douglas Fir and Fraser fir Christmas trees. We have a variety of sizes available to suit any space.
Make A Fresh Cut
If you have a saw, make a fresh cut off the trunk of your tree when you get it home, like you would with cut flowers. Fresh-cut trees will do best if they can be placed away from heat registers, radiators, or fireplaces. They prefer to stay a little cooler.
Get it in Water As Soon As Possible
As soon as your tree is in the house, get it set up in its stand and water it immediately. Live Christmas trees can use you upwards of a gallon of water a day, and some will drink up to two gallons on their first day in your house. Use only fresh water, do not add anything to it.
Monitor Water Levels
Check the water level inside your tree stand every day. Don’t let the level fall below the bottom of the tree trunk. If your tree’s water level gets too low, the trunk will start to dry out and heal over. If this happens, the tree will have a harder time sucking up water, and it may begin to drop needles.
Spray with an Anti-Desiccant
To keep your tree from losing moisture, spray it with an anti-desiccant spray like Wilt Pruf. The product helps needles retain moisture, so it remains green and fresh as long as possible.
After Christmas, the easiest way to dispose of your tree is to get it ready for the annual Allentown Christmas tree pickup. Make sure your tree has no ornaments or decorations left on it, and do not put your tree in a bag. The city will pick up trees and recycle them appropriately. If you miss the pickup or aren't ready to take your tree down, you could also set it out near your bird feeders for the rest of the winter. Birds will make use of it as a perch near bird feeders, and you can hang feeders from the tree branches as well. If you keep your tree for the birds, double-check the tree for any remaining tinsel, which can harm wild animals if ingested.
Stop by our garden center today and pick out your Christmas tree—and maybe a few poinsettias—to kick off the Christmas season in Lehigh Valley!