by Whitney Flach
The poinsettia is one of the most popular potted flowers in the United States, especially during this time of year. This year it wasn’t an easy growing for the fall crop.
The warm temperatures encouraged the poinsettias to grow a little too fast. It took extra care to make sure the Iowa-grown poinsettias were the perfect height for the holidays. Greenhouse workers got a little anxious, trying to get the poinsettias to look perfect in time for the holiday season.
A Farm Bureau member and Iowa Greenhouse owner said, “I’ve had good luck over the years, and I’ve always tried to keep them short and compact because they are always sellable that way. But this year, it’s been more of a struggle.”
Poinsettias are a ”finicky” crop to grow. If the daytime temperatures are too warm in the fall, then the plants will grow too fast.
Poinsettias are available in a wide range of colors. Red is the most popular color. However, poinsettias also are available in burgundy, pink, salmon, white, cream and gold.
When selecting a poinsettia, choose a well-shaped plant with dark green foliage and well-colored bracts. The true flowers should be shedding little or no pollen. Avoid poinsettias with wilted foliage, broken stems or few leaves.
Place the poinsettia near a sunny window, or other well-lit location. However, don’t let the plant touch the cold window pane. Keep the poinsettia away from cold drafts or heat sources. Poinsettias prefer temperatures between 60 and 70°F.
When watering a poinsettia, carefully remove the pot covering, water the plant in the sink, then drop the poinsettia back into the pot cover.
When given good care, a poinsettia should remain attractive for several weeks, well after the Christmas and New Year’s festivities.