Euphorbia pulcherrima

Common name: Poinsettia

The poinsettia, is known as the flower of Christmas, originating in Mexico, and was named after Joel Poinsett.

Poinsettia flowers are small golden cups that appear in November - December.

The red, pink, or white bracts surrounding the inflorescence provide the colouring.

During the flowering period, the plant should be kept out of direct sunlight, and should also be protected from hot or cold draughts.

They prefer a night temperature of 16°-18°C (60-65°F) and a day temperature of 18°C (65° F)

The soil should be kept uniformly moist, possibly requiring watering 2-3 times a week.

Fertilize every 2 weeks with a solution of houseplant fertilizer at 1 tsp per gallon.

After blooming reduce the amount of water and allow the plant to go dormant.

Move poinsettia to cooler position but not below 10°C (50°F)

Propagation:

Euphorbia pulcherrima are propagated during the summer from 75-125mm (3"-5") shoots (tip cuttings).

Cultivation

Week 9: When the bracts fade, prune the plant/s to half their size, seal cuts with a lighted match or spill.

Take care not to get the latex (sap) on to your skin as this may cause a skin reaction.

Re-pot into fresh compost and store at a minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F) water and feed weekly until September.

They need a rich, well-drained soil (2 parts peat moss - 1 part potting soil - 1 part sharp sand or perlite).

Week 20-24: Sow seeds and place in a cold frame to germinate.

Prick out when large enough to handle into individual 70mm (3") pots and grow on in a coldframe

Progressively pot up into larger pots as the plant/s increase in size.

Week 26: Select a few strong new shoots for use as tip cuttings.

Trim the stems just below a leaf joint.

Remove the lower leaves, and wash wound under a tap.

Alternatively cauterize (seal) the end of cutting with a lighter flame or match for a few seconds to stop the flow of milky sap (latex).

The sap can sometimes irritate the skin and eyes so wash your hands after taking cuttings.

Alternatively wear rubber surgical gloves.

Insert cuttings into pots filled with a well-drained sandy compost and root in a warm propagator.

Week 39: Poinsettias are strongly photoperiodic, and require a period of 12 hours of darkness.

Daily, place them in a light free place from early evening until the following morning.

Continue to water and fertilize during this period.

Continue with this treatment until colour begins to show in the top leaves.

If these requirements have been met, colour should develop circa week 46-47 as the inflorescences develops.





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