• 48°

Poinsettias, a favorite holiday flower, and their care

Poinsettias are a natural at this time of year. Sparked by an early snow, Rowan County is truly blessed with commercial poinsettia growers providing beautiful holiday plants.

Growing poinsettias is a laborious five-month process starting from cuttings. Some growers begin the process with small cuttings taken in July from stock plants they’ve grown in greenhouses while others receive shipments of cuttings from as far away as Guatemala and El Salvador.

Poinsettias are a great bargain considering the amount of time and care necessary to produce these showy plants. And the Christmas season is just not the same without a poinsettia. Local producers have produced another outstanding crop this season.

Poinsettias are photoperiodic plants, responding to waning day lengths. The chlorophyll or green color pigments gradually disappear, revealing other distinctive color pigments as a result of waning daylight hours in early September.

Color appears in the bracts or modified leaves beginning in early October. The actual flowers are small, yellow clusters in the center of the bract whirl. Many often confuse the bracts, or colorful leaves, as the plant’s flowers.

There are various colors and combinations available, and actually too many to list. Red is the predominant poinsettia color produced, however, there are a virtual rainbow of colors ranging from deep purples to creamy whites. There’s even an orange poinsettia variety.

Commercial producers began their shipment of the colorful holiday plants in early November to local garden centers and retail outlets, but there are still beautiful plants available from local Rowan County producers.

With proper care, poinsettias can last throughout the holiday season. Below are tips from poinsettia growers on how to keep your plant looking its best for the holidays.

• Try to use a large, roomy shopping bag or box to protect your plant when transporting it. Most growers will have plastic sleeves to protect the plant.

• Place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can’t be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.

• Maintain the room temperatures between 68-70 degrees.  If you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia, however, the cooler the better.

• Try not to expose poinsettias to temperatures below 50. These plants are sensitive to cold, so avoid placing them outside during the winter months.

• Avoid placing plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Also, avoid placing near appliances, televisions, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

• Water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. Please note that over-watering quickly kills poinsettias. Do not allow them to sit in standing water. Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.

• Poinsettias are produced as disposable plants and should be tossed when they decline after the holiday season.

• Poinsettias are not poisonous plants as many think. This is a myth perpetuated in the early 1900s that has remained with us to this very day. Display and enjoy your traditional Christmas plant throughout the holidays without fear of pets or children becoming ill from ingesting plant material.

Darrell Blackwelder retired as county Extension director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.



Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021


$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row


China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program


Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome


State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions


Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it


Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting


Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits


Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker


Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank


North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys


Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools


Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house


Quotes of the week


Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid


When will gas situation return to normal?


Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart


GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire


Black high school softball player told to cut hair


State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan


CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors


One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday