Royal Horticultural Society reveals how to care for poinsettia
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British Garden Centres sells more than 16,000 poinsettias during the month of December, showing just how popular these festive plants are. Although they can be quite easy to care for, experts have shared top tips for ensuring they survive the New Year.
British Garden Centres said: “Poinsettias do not like being in the cold or draughts so when you get them home, place them in a room with indirect sunlight and a temperature above 13C but not above a radiator.
“Water when the compost is moderately dry, mist the leaves with room temperature water every other day but do not over or under-water as this results in leaf drop.”
The “best” way to water them is to give them a good soak. This involves standing the pot in a sink full of water and leaving it to stand for 10 minutes or so before letting the excess water drain from the pot.
Between watering or if you feel like you have over-watered the plant, the gardening pros at Sutton Manor Nursery recommended allowing it to drain to remove any excess water.
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This will “prevent” the roots from becoming soggy and leading to an increased risk of disease, pests and root rot.
The experts added: “You don’t want the plant’s roots to be sitting in water for extended periods of time.”
According to the gardening pros, allowing poinsettias to sit in water for a long period of time is “one of the worst things you can do” to the plant.
To mist houseplants, put some tepid water into a spray bottle and spray around the roots and leaves of a plant, making sure to avoid the flowers, if the plant has them.
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Do this job in the morning so the plant has enough time to absorb the mist throughout the day.
This houseplant can also last all the way until next Christmas if you prune it during the month of April or May
British Garden Centres added: “Remember a poinsettia is for life, not just for Christmas, so look after it throughout the following year by watering less during spring.
“Trim approximately three inches of stem in May, feed, and water to encourage lush green growth for the next Christmas.
“Encouraging them to turn colour requires a lot of patience and a specific amount of dark and light each day so don’t be disappointed if it remains green; you can always pop to the centre and buy a new coloured one next year.”
Britons should cover their plant or put it in a dark room after 12 hours of daylight every day and protect it from artificial light sources.
Another gorgeous plant which naturally blooms in spring, but is forced to flower early for the Christmas trade is the azalea.
The RHS said: “Grow in a cool location, away from scorching sunshine, and keep moist. If the compost dries out, the plant will often die.”
To maintain humidity, place the houseplant on a pebble tray to help the plant thrive all year long.
A sunny windowsill is also an ideal position for this houseplant during the winter months.
The experts added: “In mid-April, repot using an ericaceous compost and feed with a high-potassium, liquid feed at weekly intervals.
“Plants can be stood outdoors in a cool, shady site for the summer if kept constantly moist, but must be brought indoors before the first frost of autumn.”
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