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Poinsettia. Christmas flower. C13
Poinsettia or Euphorbia pulcherrima or Christmas flower is a shrub which belongs to the euphorbiaceaes family.
It is native to Mexico and Guatemala and althought, it is a plant of warm climates, now it has become one of the most popular plant in plenty of countries, mainly to decorate home during Christmas season.
Poinsettia comes from a tropical and subtropical climate and can be cultivated outdoors in warm temperatures climates as a schrub.
When cultivated into a pot it needs to be watered once the soil is dried avoiding soggy soils.
Keep them in atmosphere with an average temperature between 15ºC and 21ºC approximately during the day and between 10ºC and 21ºC during the nights.
For watering, introduce the pot into a bigger container of water, leave it until you notice the soil is wet and it has absorbed as much water as possible, leave the pot aside until it drains the exceed of water and put it back to its place. Do not water leaves as they will get spoiled.
One of the most important facts to avoid are drafts or sudden changes in the temperatures.
Use a good fertilizer rich in nitrogene and potassiium to enlarge flowering as much as possible.
For having red brachteaes the following year, cut off branches after flowering something like 10 cms from the bottom, leaving at least 2-3 sprouts.
Then reduce waterig, only when the soil is completely dry and keep the plant in a cold atmoshere between 15º to 18ºC
It will start to have new leaves, and by the autumn, provide it with at least 12 hours of darkness, this way the upper leaves will become red again.
The most common pests on poinsettias are white flies and mealy bugs. Keep an eye on the reverse of the leaves to check if there is any type of white eggs. If this is the case, add some systemic insecticide.
Consulted sources in addition to our experience with this plant: