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Speaking of poinsettias

How to keep the plant beautiful


The most popular holiday potted plant is still a bright red poinsettia, although they are available in burgundy, creamy white, pink, speckled, and marbled. The colorful part looks like a flower but it is actually a modified leaf called a bract. The plant is part of the huge Euphorbia family, which has the characteristic of milky sap that irritates some people’s skin. The poinsettia is not poisonous—well established by multiple studies in universities—although it is not edible for humans or pets.


To keep the plant beautiful

1. Take the plant home without exposure to the cold air. Garden center staff will insist on wrapping the poinsettia carefully; do not accept one without a wrap or bag when temperatures are below forty-five degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place it in the house away from heat sources or cold drafts.
3. Ensure drainage: Remove the foil wrapping or poke a hole in it, so the plant never sits in water. (Provide a plate or dish underneath.)
4. Water whenever the soil surface feels dry or the plant feels light, and always tip out excess water.
5. Turn down the heat at night (close to sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit).


Why buy locally grown? First, growers and local shops know how to care for the plants from their beginnings. In some stores, you might find a good-looking plant that will soon wilt and fail because of exposure to heat, cold, dryness etc. during shipping. Second, our growers such as W. D.Henry, Zittel’s, Lockwood’s, Bengert’s, and Mischler’s Greenhouses count on this holiday crop—eighty percent of which is sold in a three-week period. Shop northtowns, southtowns, or in the city, but look for a WNY-grown poinsettia.   


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