Poinsettias make an ideal gift. Select plants with green foliage all the way down to the soil line. Choose a plant with small green buttons at the center of the flowers. Those with yellow flowers are further developed. Poinsettias do not like drafts and resent hot air as much as cold. Get them on your last stop before going home so they won't sit in the car too long. If outdoor temperatures are freezing, wrapping is essential.
Water plants thoroughly until the water seeps through the drain hole. If your plant is wrapped in foil, make a hole in the foil so it does not hold water. Always put a saucer underneath to protect your furniture and empty any water left after 20 minutes. Check plants daily and water only when the soil feels dry.
Poinsettias can stay in the house until April and will remain beautiful for that long a time. Because they are without nutrients during the entire marketing process, it is a good idea to feed new plants within several days with any houseplant food. Repeat this about once a month. Your plant will gradually shed its leaves in a heated house. Either pull up the wrapping paper or insert evergreen branches into the soil if stems look too naked.
The Poinsettia is Not Poisonous
You may read or hear that the poinsettia is poison. It isn't. Research at the Ohio State University determined that the poinsettia is not harmful to either people or animals. No one has ever suffered poisoning from any part of the plant. Holly berries, all parts of the Jerusalem cherry, poinsettia leaves, and mistletoe berries can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain if babies eat them, so be advised. But do not panic.
Plant Your Poinsettias Outdoors
You can plant your poinsettias outdoors in spring after all danger of frost is past. If it has not been hardened, set the pot out for a few hours, lengthening the time each day for about a week until the plant adjusts to outdoor sun and temperatures. Plant in full sun with the pot sunken into the soil--this will help for an easier return indoors in the fall.
Bring the plant indoors before the first frost in fall, again making the change gradually to minimize shock. Put the plant where there is no artificial evening light, for they will form buds in response to long hours of darkness. After color shows, household lights will not matter.