It's a myth that poinsettias will kill dogs that like to nibble on anything. Nor will teething infants take sick.
In honor of National Poinsettia Day on Dec. 12, the Society of American Florists would like to clear up this misunderstanding. "It's a testament to the persistence of myths," said SAF Marketing Chairman Paul Bachman in a press release. "Poinsettias simply are not toxic. That was proven 23 years ago in scientific tests and we want to set the record straight."
What poinsettias ARE, however, are traditional Christmas plants that will last a long time, with proper care. The length of a plant's life depends on the maturity of the plant, when you purchase it and how you treat the plant. Treat your poinsettia well and it will retain its beauty for weeks and, some varieties, for months. Here are six
1. After selecting your poinsettia, wrap it properly to avoid the leaves being exposed to low temperatures during transport.
2. Unwrap your poinsettia carefully and place it in an indirect light that receives about six hours of sun a day. Don't let the plant touch cold windows.
3. Avoid placing your poinsettia near warm or cold drafts, radiators, air registers or open doors and windows.
4. Ideally, poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees F and night time temperatures around 55 degrees F. High temperatures will shorten the plant’s life. Move the plant to a cooler room at night, if possible.
5. Check the soil daily. Punch holes in the foil so water can drain into a saucer and drain any excess water. Water only when the soil is dry. Wilted plants will tend to drop leaves sooner.
6. Fertilize the plant if you want it to live past the holiday season. Some of the pink and white varieties make handsome houseplants year round. Apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month, but not when flowers are blooming.
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