Poinsettia - the main indoor plant of winter
The appearance of the “Christmas star” is familiar even to those who have never grown indoor plants. The most beautiful euphorbia, or Poinsettia, has rightfully received its nickname. Bright, gigantic flowers, bushes of colorful poinsettias fill all around on the eve of winter and have long become one of the main symbols of the cozy atmosphere of the Christmas holidays. They are considered almost mandatory plants for purchase in December. More often than not, they are thrown away after they lose their beauty. But these are still full-fledged perennials, although they have not the simplest character.
Bright christmas symbol in potted format
Botanical name the most beautiful euphorbia, or the most beautiful (Euphorbia pulcherimma) to many true fans of poinsettias does not say anything. The plant, whose national nicknames so eloquently glorify its bright appearance, is still more often sold under the old name of poinsettia (or poinsettia). But they know this culture, first of all, as the “New Year”, “Christmas” or “Bethlehem” star and the euphorbia Christmas. Bright bracts turn a nondescript deciduous plant into a very noticeable, dazzling.
The most beautiful euphorbia is a plant from the Euphorbia family. Earlier, instead of the Euphorbius clan, this culture was singled out as an independent clan of Poinsettia, but a very long time ago the classification was revised. In nature, poinsettia euphorbia is found not only in Mexico, but nevertheless they are associated precisely with the local flora. In the mild subtropical climate of Central America, which presented us with many bright garden stars, they amaze the imagination with their riot of colors.
Poinsettia euphorbia is a plant whose membership in succulents and euphorbia is not so easy to guess. This culture seems to be a simple herbaceous perennial with large leaves, but it is very dazzling in texture and color. Poinsettias are short-day plants whose time to show off comes when most indoor crops go away for a long period of rest and suffer from a lack of light.
Beautiful euphorbia - far from modest in size, but artificially restrained indoor culture. Belonging to evergreen shrubs that can grow up to 150 cm in height, it is not easy to guess in room culture. After flowering after flowering leaves, the most beautiful euphorbia usually drops all the foliage.
Depending on the formation strategy, the size of poinsettias can either be limited to a modest 10-15 cm, or reach a "standard" of 30-50 cm or even exceed 1 m, being without any control.
Poinsettias grow in the form of dense bushes with straight shoots, less often - standard single-stem trees (most often, the tree-like form is artificially ripened). Among modern varieties there are mini-plants and ampelous forms. True, the latter are still inferior in popularity to ordinary varieties. Poinsettias have hollow, straight and stiff stems.
Large leaves of poinsettias are their main pride. Large, oval-rhomboid, palmate-incised, slightly reminiscent of maple, with a large serrated edge and a pointed tip, they are inimitable and easily recognizable. Unique large leaves of beautiful milkweed make their texture. Matte velvety leaves seem luxurious, and dark green, with a cold emerald tint color only emphasizes the beauty of the amazing velveteen texture. In many milkweeds, all leaves show off with an unusual reddish or chocolate tint.
But more attention is still drawn to poinsettia bracts: a dense rosette is formed at the top of the shoot from smaller bracts, often slightly different in shape and radically different in color from the main foliage. Bright, repainted in dazzling colors - red, cream, pink, bright green, salmon, lemon, cream leaves create the illusion of a flower due to the symmetrical arrangement.
They sit tight, creating a stunning "star" shape. The flowers and inflorescences of poinsettias themselves are almost invisible - inconspicuous, small, they are invisible against the backdrop of luxurious apical leaves with a bright color. The yellowish color gives them similarity to anthers, and this illusion enhances the similarity of rosettes of bracts with flowers. As it blooms, this main decoration of the plant repaints and merges with ordinary foliage, and then the bracts gradually fall off.
Interesting varieties of milk of the finest
The choice of the most beautiful milkweed varieties is made primarily by the size, shape and color of the apical leaves. There are varieties with a wrinkled surface and almost smooth, strict leaves, deformed, very pointed and even twisted down by the tips of the leaves, creating a rounded effect.
The name of the poinsettia variety usually indicates the color - light lime-lemon leaves of the variety Limelightdazzling scarlet Red velvetcandy pink Annet pinkwhite-leaved Annet whitelike wine tint Burgundyeasy to predict. But the best choice is always to make when buying according to the appearance of the plant and your tastes.
The flowering period of the most beautiful milkweed, and, accordingly, the period of repainting of the flowering leaves, falls in the winter. Poinsettias are always grown so that they appear on sale in November and December, on the eve of their favorite winter holidays. The poinsettia season ends in March-April.
Growing conditions for indoor poinsettias
Poinsettias are photophilous, thermophilic, rather capricious plants. The selection of conditions, as well as the difficulty of growing the finest milkweed, as a whole, directly depends on the strategy. If the plant is bought as a seasonal decoration and is planning to throw it away, a much larger number of options are available for the choice of lighting, and for temperatures, and even for care. If poinsettia is grown as a full-fledged long-term culture, it will be necessary to approach the question of creating ideal conditions for it more carefully.
In their development, poinsettias-euphorbia go through an incomplete period of rest, which is recognized by stunting. Plants most often drop leaves, after flowering they require a drier maintenance period of 6 weeks. For the stimulation of flowering "responsible" only a slight change in temperature and control over the duration of daylight hours.
In working with the most beautiful milkweed, care must be taken. This is nevertheless euphorbia, the juice of which is no less toxic than that of its brethren. When pruning, transplanting, any manipulations, it is better to protect the skin from getting milky juice. Poinsettias should be used with caution for those who have small children and pets, who are often attracted to the bright color of the leaves.
Lighting and placement
Poinsettias are often perceived as living decor designed to decorate interiors in anticipation of winter holidays. But this is a photophilous plant, which without good lighting will not retain its luxurious leaves for a long time. To place bushes in the depths of rooms, away from windows, on tables, dressers or coasters, of course, is very effective, but poinsettias in such places will not be comfortable.
To admire the leaves not for several weeks, but for several months, and even save the plant for next year and make it blossom again, it is worth taking care of good lighting. Poinsettias do not like the direct sun, preferring diffuse lighting. But in winter, even the southern window sills for them will not be dangerous.
During the winter months, it is better for the plant to take care of additional illumination of the poinsettia, especially if the weather is cloudy for a long time. The intensity of lighting does not coincide with its stability: at different stages of development, the most beautiful euphorbia requires different duration of daylight hours.
Blooming in poinsettias, preserved year after year, is stimulated mainly by lighting - its reduction initially to 10-11, and then only to 8 hours a day. Without a short daylight, poinsettia does not form flowers, and apical leaves do not stain in typical dazzling colors.
Plants about two months before the desired start of flowering are placed in a brightly lit place where they will enjoy the sun for 8-10 hours a day or set backlight to create similar conditions, but cover with a cap or lightproof box for the remaining 14-16 hours, protecting even from light artificial lighting inside living rooms.
So, if poinsettias want to make bloom by the beginning of the winter holidays, they begin to shelter them for 14 hours already in October. The increase in the duration of daylight hours should be smooth, gradually the plant is shaded for an increasingly shorter period, starting to change the content regime several weeks before the holidays.
During the dormant period of poinsettia, after flowering, for 6 weeks, plants, especially those that have discarded all leaves, can be placed where convenient. Lighting quality will only matter when active growth begins.
Temperature and ventilation
The sensitivity of the beautiful milkweed to both cold and heat significantly complicates its cultivation. Finding a comfortable place for the plant is not easy. Poinsettia does not like lowering less than 15 degrees, but it is not advisable to allow values above 25 degrees.
If the rest of the year the plant can adapt to almost any conditions, then during the flowering period, if you want to enjoy the bright leaves longer, you need to maintain the air temperature from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius.
After flowering and pruning, it is advisable to move the poinsettia to cool if the flowering is not prolonged and this, in principle, can be done. The optimum temperature in the room is below 20 degrees of heat, about 15-18 degrees.
It is better to maintain similar temperatures in the few months that the plant contains with artificially controlled short daylight hours in late autumn and early winter. This allows you to achieve a fairly plentiful flowering of poinsettia and brighter shades of apical bracts.
All changes in temperature should be mild and gradual. When buying poinsettias, especially new varieties of compact sizes, it is better to clarify the parameters of wintering: sometimes in flower centers, flowering is stimulated by a content of 10 to 15 degrees in temperature. And next year, these are the values that will be optimal for the plant at home.
If poinsettia is bought only for one season, moderate temperatures are suitable for it - from 18 to 20 degrees Celsius, which will allow stretching the flowering for a longer period.
Limitations on the minimum temperature should be considered when buying new plants; despite the “winter” status, poinsettias do not tolerate cold and buying them where the plants are at temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius is not worth it, because the plant will most likely not survive.
Poinsettias love fresh air, but do not tolerate drafts and temperature extremes. Ventilation or removal in the summer to the garden or to the balconies positively affects the growth of the plant. But it is necessary to carefully monitor nighttime temperatures and protect poinsettias from direct sunlight.
Home Poinsettia Care
Poinsettias should be ranked as a complex care plant, although they are touted as crops for all. Without careful care and with careless watering, success cannot be achieved with them. If poinsettias are bought only for the season, the quality of care is not significant. But for those who want to keep the bushes, every little thing matters.
Watering and humidity
The most beautiful euphorbia is afraid of stagnation of water. Too plentiful watering and constant high soil moisture for this plant can be very dangerous. Even in the warm season, watering is carried out gently, allowing the top layer of the substrate to dry, maintaining a light stable soil moisture.
Estimated frequency of watering - 2 times a week. In the cold season, straits are carried out very carefully, reducing moisture, but trying not to let the soil dry out completely. During the dormant phase after flowering, for about 6 weeks, watering is reduced, allowing the soil to dry completely or almost completely and contain poinsettia in dry mode. After a transplant or when signs of growth appear, the plants begin to maintain a stable humidity.
Despite the fact that poinsettias are plants that conquer with their opaque, velvet leaves and, in general, belong to the number of succulents, they adore high humidity. Choosing the conditions and care for them, it is worth stopping at its maximum possible values.
Humidity indicators are critical during budding and flowering. At this time, for poinsettia, humidifiers must be installed (at least trays with wet pebbles or moss) or regular, neat spraying should be introduced into the care program (moisture drops should not accumulate on the leaves).
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
The finest euphorbia is fed almost the whole year, with the exception of a short conditional dormant period, but significantly changing the concentration and frequency of feeding. Active plant nutrition is needed in the summer (or from the moment of growth of new leaves in May), from June to October, before increasing light to stimulate flowering.
Since November, poinsettias are transferred to twice as rare dressings or, accordingly, reduce the dose of fertilizers. If the plant is kept cool, top dressing can be omitted, resuming in the form of twice as rare procedures or halving the concentration of fertilizers until the end of the flowering period and the beginning of repainting of green bracts in the green color.
During the period of active growth, in the summer and in the beginning of autumn, poinsettias are fed with complex or full mineral fertilizers. During the flowering period, it is better to use fertilizers with a high content of potassium.
Cutting and forming poinsettias
The finest euphorbia in the garden and flower centers is treated with special inhibitors: their compact and magnificent shape is explained not only by high-quality pruning, but also by chemical inhibition of growth. Usually, after purchase, the plants change and begin to grow quite rapidly. But the disclosure of the true characteristics of the variety does not always lead to a loss of decorativeness; it also provides an opportunity to evaluate the true nature of the plant.
Pruning will be needed only for those poinsettias that are grown independently from cuttings and form "from scratch", and for bushes that still decided to grow as a perennial plant. Pruning is carried out after flowering.
The shoots are shortened by at least 1/3 of the height or 10 cm to the stumps to obtain the most compact bushes, stimulating the growth of new branches. Pruning of poinsettia marks the beginning of a dormant period, which continues until the start of leaf growth. As new shoots grow, it is possible to carry out the formation of bushes, leaving about 5-6 stems to obtain a classic bushy plant.
Trimming for the stem is carried out according to the standard method.An increase in the degree of pruning of shoots to short stumps makes it possible to form more compact or flat bushes, and a decrease in the degree of pruning after flowering makes large and spreading plants.
Transplant, containers and substrate
This plant is transplanted annually after the dormancy period has ended. Poinsettias begin to grow quite late, after flowering the plants pass a short dormant period, and in May they resume rapid growth. At the beginning of the growth of new leaves and shoots, it is worth replanting this plant.
The most beautiful euphorbia is surprisingly undemanding to the composition and characteristics of the soil, when it comes to loose and high-quality soil for indoor plants. A universal substrate or special soil mixtures for decorative and deciduous plants are perfect for him. With self-mixing, any version of a loose, nutritious earth mixture will work. A slightly acidic soil reaction is preferred.
For poinsettia, containers are selected from among the compact and most decorative options. The presence of drainage holes is mandatory, as well as laying a high, up to 1/3 of the height of the tank, drainage layer.
It is better to handle the plant carefully, avoiding root injuries. After transplantation, poinsettias adapt better in stable, low temperatures, without heat, with medium or high humidity. After transplanting, the plants maintain a stable soil moisture.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Poinsettias can hardly be called invulnerable indoor cultures. In addition to rot with damp soil, they are threatened by almost all known pests. The finest euphorbia often suffers from spider mites, aphids, thrips, scale insects and whiteflies. It is better to deal with any pests on plants immediately with insecticide treatments, other measures, most often, do not bring results.
Common problems in growing poinsettia:
- yellowing of leaves due to improper watering or low humidity;
- withering of leaves or dropping of leaves with extreme waterlogging or complete drying of the substrate;
- falling of inflorescences and bracts in dry air;
- yellowing and drying of the tips of the leaves in dry air;
- dropping leaves, depressed state, drying out of shoots at the wrong temperatures or a sharp change in temperature;
- bractal rosettes turn pale or spots appear on the leaves when wet and overflow.
The finest euphorbia remains one of the most difficult to reproduce indoor plants. New bushes are often preferred to buy rather than grow on their own, because the grafting process is the most productive and the only widely used method of propagation of poinsettias, but it is quite complicated and often only professionals can do it.
Cuttings of the finest milkweed should be cut from the shoots so that from 4 to 6 internodes remain on them. Cut shoots can only be during dormancy or when the plant begins to grow. The cuttings are dried, the slices are processed, stopping the release of poisonous white juice. Rooting is carried out in light soil, under a hood, under controlled conditions, after treatment with growth stimulants. Heat and cold, as well as fluctuations in humidity, are very dangerous during this period.