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‘Tis the Season for Poinsettias

It’s that time of year again for red and green plants to be used to spread holiday cheer. Poinsettias still reign as a common holiday ornamental used as gifts and decorations.

In addition to the traditional red color, varieties of poinsettias can range from white to pink to red to burgundy, or a combination of these colors for an ombre effect. The common Advent Red variety is an annual and can bloom in October.

A good example of the ‘ombre effect’ on poinsettias is the Ruby Frost variety. Credit: UF/IFAS by Tyler Jones.

The colorful part of poinsettias is actually not the flower of the plant but its bracts. Bracts are modified leaves that are positioned on the plant that are in a cluster, resembling a flower.

Here is a close up of the flower of a poinsettia. The colorful, pink parts are actually bracts, not the flower. Credit: UF/IFAS Photo by Camila Guillen

After the holidays, poinsettias can be kept as potted plants or transplanted into the ground. Some poinsettias can keep their color until March, without freezing temperature exposure. This Mexico native, prefers to be in a temperature range of 65 degrees F at night to 75 to 80 degrees F during the day.

A mature poinsettia planted outside of a home. Credit: UF/IFAS by Robert Annis

If kept indoors, keep poinsettias in bright light but away from dry or cold drafts. A porch or patio with full sun is a good option to put the plant outdoors; however, be sure they are protected from frost or freezing conditions. Do not fertilize them unless you move them outdoors because fertilizer can lessen the quality of the plant.

For more information about poinsettias and how to care for this plant, check out the UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions webpage or the EDIS Poinsettias at a Glance publication.

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