Royal Horticultural Society reveals how to care for poinsettia
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Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America but have become commonplace in UK homes around Christmas. The plants are known for their large red bracts which look like flowers, making them highly decorative. You will often find poinsettias in supermarkets as Christmas draws closer.
However, despite poinsettias being found in stores across the country, they can have tricky needs.
They need proper light, regular watering and temperature conditions.
If you’re planning on buying a poinsettia soon but aren’t sure where to keep it, gardener Laetitia Maklouf has shared her tips for looking after the festive plant.
Laetitia said in a video for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) can also be kept for next year with a “bit of effort”.
She continued: “Whether you received a poinsettia as a gift over the holidays or you want a houseplant to give you some colour in winter, these are easy to care for and with a little bit of effort you can keep them for next year too.
“The colourful part of the poinsettia is not actually a flower but it’s rather a modified leaf known as a bract.
“Poinsettias are tropical plants so don’t let them get too cold.
“Place this plant in a room with central heating and don’t put up a set on a windowsill because it does tend to be rather draughty.”
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Rather than keeping them on a windowsill or in porches, keep them in a room with plenty of sunlight and heat.
However, the key tip to looking after poinsettias is not to overwater them.
Laetitia added: “Put your poinsettia in a bright place with indirect sunlight and don’t overwater this plant.
“Only water it when the soil starts to dry out.
“If you’re giving it too much or too little water the leaves will let you know by turning yellow and wilting.”
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Try and avoid keeping the bottom of your poinsettia in a water-filled saucer.
This can lead to root rot which could kill the plant.
If you place other plants near your poinsettia, it could help increase humidity levels.
Once your poinsettia starts to lose its leaves, you can either choose to discard of it or keep it.
Choosing to keep it another year means you won’t have to buy another one next year.
However, you will need to give it extra care.
Decrease watering and allow the soil to dry out a bit, watering when needed.
Pop the plant in a cool, dark area until April.
In April, prune the plants and keep them in temperatures of around 13C, repotting them in May and allowing them to be kept in temperatures of around 15-18C.
The plant should begin to flower and turn red again naturally in December and January when the days shorten.
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