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  • Last modified 173 days ago (Dec. 28, 2018)

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Give a plant a chance: Don’t toss that poinsettia just yet

News editor

The beautiful, bright red leaves, called bracts, of the ever-popular Poinsettia brighten the holidays. They are popular gifts to give and receive. However, they have gotten a reputation for being a bit finicky.

With a little tender, loving care they can be kept looking good for months to come, University of Kansas extension agent Tristen Cope said.

“Consistency is most important,” Cope said. “Poinsettias like predictable care.”

Aunt Bee’s Floral and Gifts owner Wendy Youk said the plants can be picky.

“They don’t like drafts — hot or dry, she said. A place near an outside door is just as bad as a place near an air vent.”

Fluctuations in weather are critical to their sustainability. Youk advised being careful transporting a plant home from the retailer.

“Covering them with a plastic sack from store to home will give them a better chance to survive,” she said.

Plants needs to be placed in bright, indirect light, and kept at a constant heat above 60 degrees.

Water is noted as being the most challenging. Overwatering or under watering both have negative consequences.

If the plant gets too dry, it can wilt, causing leaf and bract loss.

On the other hand, Poinsettias don’t like “wet feet” so be sure it can drain off excess moisture.

Youk suggests dropping in 2-4 ice cubes a day.

“That’s all they need,” she said.

Well cared for Poinsettias should last several months. Youk said they can be planted outside in the spring but won’t be able to over winter.

“They make a nice looking shrub but people should be careful not to disturb their roots much in transplanting,” she said.

Last modified Dec. 28, 2018

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