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Poinsettia and Christmas tree Care

Andrea Burns
Ford County Extension Agent

Even though the weather outside is not showing the season, the Holidays are upon us and it is time to start thinking about putting up and caring for those Christmas trees and Poinsettias.

Then we have to remember to care for them throughout the entire season! Proper care can make them last till after New Year’s.

Poinsettias are some of the finickiest plants to care for.

Poinsettias do not like to be too wet and if you let them get dry and wilting, they will drop leaves. To determine when the plant should be watered, check it daily by sticking a finger about one inch deep in the soil. They only need water when the soil is dry to that depth.

Poinsettias like to be kept at a certain temperature. They like about the same temperatures we do, 65 to 75 degrees during the day and 60 to 65 degrees at night.

If allowed to get too warm, you will shorten the poinsettia’s life. If it gets too cold, it will develop root rot. Drafts will also cause problems.

Poinsettias prefer bright light. Keep them in a well light window, but avoid contact with the cold window glass. You may also need to draw the drapes at night to keep the temperature constant.

Poinsettias are also very brittle and can be easily broken. Keep them out of reach of young children and pets and out of areas where they could be knocked over or damaged. Proper care will ensure you poinsettia will last through this season and many years to come.

Taking care of a real Christmas tree continues after it has been decorated.

The tree should be placed away from heat registers, radiators, stoves and fireplaces. Such heat sources speed up evaporation and dry out the tree. Check the water daily.

If the stand is allowed to dry out, the trunk wound will seal over and the tree will not take up any additional moisture. Tap water is best to keep the tree hydrated despite some recommendations of adding sugar, pennies and commercial additives.

Be sure to turn off all Holiday lights at night or when leaving the house, especially those on the tree. They can pose a fire hazard. Be sure to keep young children and pets from trying to climb the tree to avoid knocking it over.

You may need to anchor it to the ceiling or wall to achieve this goal.

For more Christmas tree tips, visit the National Christmas Tree Association’s Web site at www.realchristmastrees.org.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Ford County Extension Office!