Festive seasons are a call for family gatherings. With Christmas around the corner, it is time to begin decorating your house before your family and loved ones gather for a joyful and miraculous transformation of everything. This festive season brings more vitality and colors into the world and our lives.
Poinsettia (scientific name: Euphorbia Pulcherrima), is often also known as the ‘Christmas Star’ because of its star-like petals. It is one of the most renowned flowers around this time of the year. Poinsettia is also the most favored choice as floral gifts in Singapore.
Poinsettia has numerous names, and one of its names is Christmas Star. It hails from the Taxco del Alarcon region of Mexico. It blooms on its own; its petals (bracts) are crimson. Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first ambassador of the United States of America to Mexico (1825-1829), and the man was responsible for introducing this flower.
Upon his visit to Taxco del Alarcon region, he began to often send poinsettia as a gift plant (due to its color and beauty) to his friends and family straight to the United States of America. The Poinsettia plant got its name from Joel Roberts’ nickname Poinsett, as an honor to him for contributing and recognizing the flower.
Like all other plants, the Christmas Star plant also needs some basic care to maintain its beauty and enrich its longevity. Particularly in poinsettia, the plants’ requirements revolve around light, temperature, and water.
Light: Locate the flower next to a window facing East, West, or South, where sunlight enters. Always avoid placing the flower in the North direction. With its roots in Mexico, Poinsettia always enjoys direct sunlight in large quantities.
Temperature: The temperature of the environment where the Christmas plant is located should be around 17 to 21 degrees Celsius during the day and 15 degrees Celsius during the night. To preserve Poinsettia’s health and prevent any damages like falling of the leaves, avoid keeping poinsettia in a cold area.
Water: The Christmas Star plant should only be watered when the Earth is dry. You should always avoid sinking the roots of the plant. With a deficit of moisture and in contact with dry environments, the plant tends to wither. Although the withered leaves can be recovered, it is a time-consuming procedure.
Steps to plant the Christmas star plant
- Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root and bury the plant in it. You can also pot the plant.
- Set the plant inside the hole, and over the hole with earth and water. Do not water it too much, or the roots will rot.
- Fertilize the land with fertilizer and water once every two weeks; particularly at the base of the plant where the sun is setting.
- Stop fertilizer during the fall, and when the weather gets cold, let it winter.
- Protect the plant from temperatures below 7 degrees celsius. If the plant is potted in a vase, locate it inside the house.
- When the sunlight is great, expose the plant to it. Shadow the plant in the darker hours from 5 pm to 8 am.
- As the flowers start to turn yellowish, cut them from the branch (20 cm to 45 cm) because it stimulates growth and helps to always be composed.
- Stop watering the plant until early spring.
- During the Christmas season, place the plant in a spot with adequate light.
How to take care of your Poinsettia?
To preserve the health and beauty of your Poinsettia, you need to take extra care of the plant.
The chief precautions to be taken with the poinsettia plant are:
- Grow the plant in a luminous space, sheltered from the drafts;
- Bury the plant in sandy soil, well-drained with adequate light;
- Water the land whenever it dries;
- Fertilize the plant with a good compost (preferable organic);
- Follow all the plat cultivation steps.
What are the dangers associated with Poinsettia?
Despite its charm and extraordinary features, Poinsettia has poisonous properties making it extremely toxic for humans. It is not recommended to place the plant in an easily accessible place or a closed space with smaller children and pets at home.
The milky sap of the plant (an internal substance that is a kind of latex) can cause:
- Inflammations, itching, and pain;
- Irritation and numbness if came in contact with the eyes;
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, if swallowed.
If you follow all the above-mentioned instructions carefully, you can cultivate and maintain your own Christmas Star Plant.