Keeping a poinsettia healthy requires TLC
You've brought home one of those irresistible potted poinsettias or received one as a gift. How do you keep it beautiful through the holidays?
* Place your poinsettia in indirect light after bringing it home. Poinsettias need six hours of light daily (fluorescent light will work).
* Keep your plant away from cold windows, warm or cold drafts from furnaces or air conditioners.
* Poinsettias do best at daytime temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees.
* Check the soil daily. Punch holes in the pot's foil cover so water can drain into a saucer. Water the plant when the soil is dry.
* Don't fertilize poinsettias while in bloom. If kept past the holiday season, apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month.
For more tips, go to http://urbanext.illinois.edu/ poinsettia/index.cfm
If you manage to keep your potted poinsettia alive until next fall, you can trick it into bloom. Every night, place a lightproof bag over the plant or put it in a closet to force the bloom in time for Christmas.
Poinsettias need at least 14 hours of complete darkness each night for six to 10 weeks to trigger bloom.