Indoor plants

Christmas stars

Main features of poinsettias

The scientific name of poinsettias is euphorbia pulcherrima. It is a plant native to Central America but for many years it has also been naturalized in other countries of the world characterized by a high temperature range between night and day. In nature they are very long-lived and become trees even meters high. The stems are semi-woody and have a typical bright green color. The dark foliage has a sharp shape that can be traced back in some way to that of the holly. The inflorescences develop in the apical part of the stems and are composed of bracts that are transformed leaves that take on colors from intense red to white passing through the whole range of intermediate shades . The real flower is the yellowish one found in the center of the inflorescence.

How to grow them

In nature, poinsettias live in hilly areas subject to strong temperature variations between day and night. In our latitudes they survive only if kept constantly inside the home. Avoid placing them near windows or doors that appear on the outside because drafts are dangerous for their health. Make sure they get a good amount of light and don’t move it frequently. However, periodically turn it around on itself in such a way as to allow it to carry out a harmonious development. As for the soil, choose the universal one and lighten it with a low percentage of sand to favor the flow of water. Only water it when the soil is dry and do not use saucers.

Method of propagation

Poinsettias hardly produce seeds with the climate present in our country. For this reason they are propagated exclusively by woody or semi woody cutting. The cuttings can also be taken from branches that are already a few years old to obtain a robust plant in a short time. Poinsettia cuttings are prepared in spring or at the end of summer. They are taken from the top of the branches without inflorescences and then all the leaves are removed from the lower part. To speed up the rooting process, the part of the cut can be immersed in the special powder available at well-supplied agricultural consortia. Keep the seedlings away from heat sources such as radiators.

Birthstars: Parasites and diseases

The biggest problems that poinsettias have are due to the high humidity in the environment and excessive watering. If the plant bends the branches and loses its characteristic turgor, it means that it is suffering from thirst and must be watered more frequently. Water should be administered in moderate doses only when the soil is dry. On the other hand, if the poinsettia has brown spots on the foliage and the edges are curled, the ambient humidity must be increased. To do this, just vaporize the plant with water.If a thick gray dust appears on the stem and leaves, it is necessary to intervene with specific phytosanitary products to fight botrytis: a harmful mold.

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