Decorating with Poinsettias
Here are some facts about the Christmas star, or poinsettia, from The Old Farmer’s Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide:
Despite popular lore, the poinsettia is not poisonous (although it may cause stomach upset if ingested). The number one holiday plant, it is sold in grocery stores, discount stores, and even on street corners.
When shopping for a poinsettia, look for healthy dark-green foliage all the way down to the soil line. Examine the true flowers, located at the base of the bright-colored bracts.
If these are green- or red-tipped and fresh looking, the plant will last longer than if they are covered with a yellow pollen. Avoid any plant with drooping, wilted, yellowing, or falling leaves.
The poinsettia prefers indoor temperatures of 60° to 70°, but if you can keep it at 50° to 60° at night, it will last even longer. Display it in a sunny window, but don’t let the leaves touch the glass. Keep the plant evenly moist, watering only when the soil is dry to the touch, and don’t let it sit in water. Protect it from chills or drafts.
Here are our favorite decorating ideas from New Hampshire designer Matthew Mead: