DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day.
DO provide room temperatures of at least 68-70 degrees F.
DO water your plants thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch.
DO use a large roomy shopping bag to protect your plants when transporting them.
DO fertilize your plants after the blooming season with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer if you plan to keep them.
DON’T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat.
DON’T expose your plants to temperatures below 50 degrees.
DON’T allow plants to sit in standing water.
DON’T expose your plants to chilling winds when transporting.
DON’T fertilize your plants when they are in bloom.
Poinsettias Are Not Poisonous!
Poinsettias have been widely tested for decades due to the myth of poinsettias being toxic. Even today, the myth still pervades despite it being proven false time and time again and we have the receipts:
In 1971, Ohio State University tested all parts of the plant on 55 rats and “when given extraordinarily high doses of various portions of the poinsettia, show no mortality, no symptoms of toxicity nor any changes in dietary intake or general behavior pattern.”
According to Serkalem Mekonnen, RN, BSN, MPH, Certified Specialist in Poison Information at the National Poison Control Center, “even after reaching experimental doses of about 1.25 pounds (500-600 leaves). The plant does not have dangerous effects when eaten.” The website goes on to say that poinsettias can cause mild stomach irritation if eaten and touching the sap may cause a rash.
If you are a garden center or florist, the Society of American Florists’ article “Remind Customers that Poinsettias Aren’t Poisonous” has some good information for you and links to their Poinsettia page which is where we found the links below.
Also poinsettias are listed under the “Non-Poisonous Plants” on the National Poison Control Center website.
The paper “Poinsettia exposures have good outcomes … just as we thought,” by Edward P Krenzelok, PharmD, T.D Jacobsen, PhD and John M Aronis, PhD that is available on the American Journal of Emergency Medicine if you want to see their stats on accidental poinsettia exposures. Spoiler: no one dies.
Regarding poinsettia toxicity to pets, they can cause irritation around the mouth and stomach issues to pets, but it depends on the size of your pet and the amount ingested. Generally, it could cause an upset stomach. You can check out these article links for more information: Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, American Veterinary Medicine Association of America and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Of course, like all ornamental plants, the poinsettia is not intended for human consumption. (And who has room for a poinsettia after all the other holiday food!) Poinsettias can be used in such a variety of ways they always make a wonderful gift. You never have to worry if the recipient already has one, since poinsettias look best displayed in groups. From a centerpiece on your holiday table to a miniature decorating the corner of an office desk, to a colorful hanging basket that can brighten any room, the poinsettia is always a perfect fit. Give one as a gift on National Poinsettia Day, December 12th!
Selecting a Healthy Poinsettia
Choose plants with bracts that are at least 75-100% fully colored. The bracts are the colorful part of the poinsettia, while the true flowers are the small yellow centers.
We say 75-100% because some people like their poinsettias a little greener which provides more of the green-red color contrast. And some people like them 100% turned with little to no green showing. It is completely up to your preference. One of our founding owners, Charley Parks, liked his poinsettias between 50-75% turned. He really like the bright red and dark green contrast.
Generally speaking, most poinsettias will be shipped at or near 100% most of the time.
Look for plants full plants with medium to dark green foliage on the lower leaves and 4-5 branches per plant. The plant should be about 2X larger than its pot size. For example, if it is in a #6 pot (approximately 6″) the plant should be 12-14″ tall and about the same wide.
Select plants with strong, stiff stems and no sign of wilting. Yellow blooms or red-green buds should be present at the center of the bract. Missing blooms is a sign that the plant is past prime and possibly mistreated – not watered frequently, too hot or too cold.
Be wary of plants displayed in paper, plastic or mesh sleeves, for these can reduce air flow.