Poinsettias: ‘Golden rule’ for looking after festive plant this winter – ‘very important!’

Learn how to care for Christmas cactus and poinsettias

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Houseplants, including poinsettias need extra care during the winter months, to make sure they do not dry out with the heating. This means making sure they are watered enough and placing them away from direct heat sources.

Stars for Europe experts have shared top tips on looking after the festive plant through the winter months.

They said: “Whilst poinsettias are renowned for making wonderful festive displays, they also have a reputation for being a little tricky to care for, but forewarned is forearmed!

“You wouldn’t expect a thin-skinned prize pooch to brave the wilds of winter without a coat and a similar attitude should be adopted towards your poinsettias, which hate absolutely nothing more than a cold draft.

“The golden rule for poinsettias is don’t let them get too cold.

“They must be kept at a minimum temperature of 15 to 22 degrees celsius and protected from cold draughts, preferring a warm, sheltered spot and soft filtered light.

“These sensitive plants can easily be damaged during transportation from garden centre or florist to home, so ensure they are properly wrapped in paper at the stop – without leaving any foliage exposed to the elements.

“You would ideally put it inside a bag for safe measure, this is very important!

“Even a few minutes of exposure to cold air – especially an Arctic plant in the depth of winter – can terminally damage the leaves, which must be kept well sheltered at all times.”

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Poinsettias love the light, but should be kept out of the way from direct sunlight.

The Stars for Europe experts also recommend keeping them out of shadowy corners.

They said: “A good test is to see what kind of shadow your hand makes when you put it into the spot you have in mind for your poinsettia.

“No shadow means the place is too shaded, a dark black shadow means the sun is too bright, but a soft grey shadow is perfect.”

How often do the festive plants need watering?

The experts explained that overwatering can make them vulnerable to pests.

They said: “Poinsettias need soil within an optimum ph range of 5.8 to 6.2.

“They must not be over-watered and left in soggy soil. This is a crime against poinsettias almost (although not quite) on a par with blasting them with cold air.

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“You should allow compost to just start drying out before giving your plant light watering, taking care not to soak them

“Overwatering can cause poinsettias to be blighted by grey mould and also makes them vulnerable to attack from common pests like mealybugs and scale insects.

“Poinsettias do like humid conditions, so keep them well misted, especially if there’s a danger of them gasping for moisture in rooms where the central heating is on full blast.

“Just like your Christmas dinner guests, poinsettias also like to be fed, in this case monthly, with a high potassium, low nitrogen fertiliser.”

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