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Poinsettia Care for the Holiday Season 

Ashdown, Ark. –

Taking Care of the Red and Green

Poinsettia Care for the Holiday Season

            Before too much longer it will be that time of year when a variety of festive, brightly colored poinsettias adorn our homes, offices, and public spaces. While poinsettias generally require little care, the following tips will ensure that your plants remain healthy throughout the holiday season.

  • Exposure to extreme (above 80°F) or cold (below 50°F) stresses poinsettias and often results in a loss of leaves or in some cases, early death of the plant. Make sure that the plants are protected and covered when transporting them from the greenhouse, florist, or other retailer to your car and home. Once inside, avoiding placing plants near hot or cold drafts that may injure plants.
  • Rough handling of poinsettias may also cause stem breakage and/or leaf loss. Carefully remove plants from their paper or plastic sleeves to avoid damage.
  • Poinsettias perform best when place in bright environments such as near a window and provided with moderate temperatures of 65 to 70°F.
  • Poinsettias prefer moist soil. When the top of the soil feels dry to the touch, water thoroughly with warm tap water. Allow excess water to drain from the bottom of the container and discard.
  • Although most poinsettias do not require additional nutrients during the holiday season, a standard houseplant fertilizer can be used to maintain healthy foliage and blooms. Follow the fertilizer recommendations listed on the package.

Christmas Tree Choices

 Red Cedar:   The red cedar is the first Christmas tree I remember as a child.  It was a great adventure for me and my siblings to go out with dad on a hike that seemed to be forever to find the perfect tree to decorate with crafts we made at school and stringing popcorn around the tree.  It was also kind of cool that when Christmas was over we put the tree outside with the popcorn string on it and watched the cardinals come and dine on the popcorn.  The red cedar was also a favorite 19th century Christmas tree. It is an aromatic evergreen with prickly, scale-like leaves. It is not a conifer since it produces dark blue berries, with a whitish bloom that contain 1-2 seeds each. These fruits are very attractive to wildlife, including the cedar waxwing. Even if it’s not your choice for the family tree, its branches are very useful in making wreathes or decorations because of its blue berries.

Pines: The pines have long needles in bundles of 2-5. Pines are particularly desirable as Christmas trees since they will hold up well over a long period in a warm house. Scotch Pine has a lovely conical shape which makes it very popular. White Pine has bundles of feathery soft, bluish needles. It is generally one of the less expensive Christmas trees.

Firs: Needles on the firs are longer than those of the spruce, but they are not as stiff and sharp. The trees have a nice shape and take decorations well. Balsam fir holds its needles well in a warm room and it will fill the room with its fragrance. It has deep green needles banded with white on the underside which gives it a beautiful silvery cast. It has been the most popular Christmas tree in this country for years.  Douglas fir, which is sometimes marketed as Montana fir, is not a fir at all. Despite its similar appearance, it is a pine. Its inch long needles are flat and soft. It is a good choice for it holds onto its needles for a long time.

Christmas Tree Preservative

¼ C horticulture iron (ask for Green Garde)

1 gallon hot water

2 C light corn syrup

4 tsp. chlorinated household bleach

Mix the above ingredients. The Green Garde will not dissolve completely; it will produce a blue-green mixture with particles that will settle on the bottom. Cut an inch from the base of the trunk and crush the fibers with a hammer Stand the tree in water filled holder. 

By Sherry Beaty-Sullivan
County Extension Agent - Agriculture/Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Sherry Beaty-Sullivan
County Extension Agent - Agriculture/Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1411 N Constitution Ave Ashdown AR 71822
(870) 898-7224


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