Poinsettias: Monty Don shares how to keep houseplant ‘looking good’ past Christmas

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Poinsettias are commonly used to decorate the home at Christmas as well as in the New Year. Although they can be quite easy to look after, the festive plant does need some extra care after the big day. Monty Don shared how owners need to give their plant “little care” in order to thrive.

Monty Don regularly shares gardening advice on television as well as online.

He writes a blog post each month, explaining what jobs need to be done in that specific month.

For the month of December, the expert detailed how to look after poinsettias, including what temperature they need as well as how to water them.

Monty wrote: “Hundreds of thousands of poinsettias will be given as gifts this Christmas and with a little care these can be made to last looking good for months.

“Poinsettias are only really comfortable in damp warmth.

“Modern poinsettias grown as houseplants are treated with a growth retardant to create the familiar short, bushy shape we all know and love but in their native Mexico, poinsettias grow at the margin of the forest to a large 10ft high shrub.

“They do not like cool nights or very hot rooms.”

Poinsettias also do not like big fluctuations in temperature.

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Monty added: “Keep them where there is a constant average temperature, avoiding draughts, cold windows or even very bright spots that can get very hot in the middle of the day.

“They like plenty of water but let the compost dry out before giving them a good soak, standing the pot in a sink full of water and leaving it to stand for 10 minutes or so before letting the excess water drain from the pot.”

Misting them regularly can help to increase their humidity, keeping them thriving for longer.

It can also reduce the risk of overwatering, a common houseplant problem.

In a recent Twitter video, Monty shared the importance of misting houseplants every morning during the winter months.

He said: “When the weather is really bad, of course that’s when we make it as cosy as we can indoors and that means turning up the central heating.

“Well that’s lovely for us but it really isn’t so good for houseplants, and of course this is the time of year where we want them to be at their very best.

“Although the quickest way to kill a houseplant is to overwater it, if the air is too dry and when your central heating hits, then they suffer.

“So the solution is to treat yourself to a really good spray, there are lots of different kinds available and they all work.

“The secret is to give the plants a generous spray at least once a day.”

It is recommended to use tepid water and to do the job early in the morning so the plants have all day to dry out.

Monty added: “It only takes about a minute and ideally you do it where you don’t have too many soft furnishings.

“If the foliage is running with water that will keep them happy and healthy when your house is toasty and warm.”

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