An informative piece by David J. Frank in the PLANET Interior News Issue
It’s again the time of year when poinsettias are everywhere. They are often central to the displays in malls and churches, and help to decorate many a home. Following are some tips to keep them looking their best throughout the holidays:
- DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can’t be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.
- DO provide room temperatures between 68° and 70°F. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia.
- DO water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.
- DON’T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Avoid placing plants near appliances, fireplaces, or ventilating ducts.
- DON’T expose plants to temperatures below 50°F. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so avoid placing them outside during the winter months.
- DON’T overwater your plant or allow it to sit in standing water. Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.
- DON’T expose your plant to chilling winds when transporting it.
- DON’T fertilize your plant when it is in bloom.
The poinsettia is NOT poisonous
The widespread belief that poinsettias are poisonous is a misconception. The scientific evidence demonstrating the poinsettia’s safety is ample and well documented.
In studies conducted by The Ohio State University in cooperation with the Society of American Florists, no toxicity was evident at experimental ingestion levels far exceeding those likely to occur in a home environment. In fact, the POISINDEX® Information Service, the primary information resource used by most poison control centers, states that a 50-pound child would have to ingest more than 500 poinsettia bracts to surpass experimental doses. Yet, even at this high level, no toxicity was demonstrated.
As with all ornamental plants, poinsettias are not intended for human or animal consumption, and certain individuals may experience an allergic reaction to poinsettias. However, the poinsettia has been demonstrated to be a safe plant. In fact, in 1992, the poinsettia was included on the list of houseplants most helpful in removing pollutants from indoor air. So, not only is the poinsettia a safe and beautiful addition to your holiday decor, it can even help keep your indoor air clean!