How To Care For Poinsettia

Poinsettia is a vibrant houseplant that brightens up your home at Christmas. It has bright red star-shaped leaves that are often mistaken for flowers. But in fact they are bracts, designed to help attract insects to the small flowers in the centre.

Most poinsettia are red, but they can also be white, pink and orange. And they make great table centrepieces and feature houseplants.

They have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but it’s not hard once you understand their preferred conditions.

Poinsettia history

poinsettia-red
Red Poinsettia from Woodbank Nurseries and Garden Centre

Poinsettia plants are a type of euphorbia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). They are native to Mexico and were brought to the USA in 1825 by the American ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett.

The plant was originally cultivated by the Aztecs, who called it Cuetlaxochitl (flower which wilts). For the Aztecs, poinsettia’s brilliant red colour symbolised purity and it was used in religious ceremonies.

The Aztecs also used the red leaves to dye fabric and the plant’s sap was used as medicine to control fever.

Some people believe that poinsettia are poisonous, but in fact the toxicity is very mild and the plants are safe to grow at home.

How to care for poinsettia

poinsettia
Red and Pink Poinsettia from Woodbank Nurseries and Garden Centre

Poinsettia are easy to grow at home, but yet many people have problems with them. One of the most common problems is that they simply wilt and die, and nothing can save them.

Many people think they have done something wrong, but the most likely cause is nothing to do with you. Poinsettias are tender plants and do not like cold temperatures. Exposure to icy draughts, even for a few minutes, can harm the foliage.

You should take care when bringing them home from our shop to shield them from freezing temperatures.

We will always wrap the plant in a cellophane sleeve or cover with a plastic bag so it is completely protected.

What to do if poinsettia wilts

poinsettia-yellow
Yellow Poinsettia from Woodbank Nurseries and Garden Centre

If your poinsettia does begin to wilt, soak the rootball in warm water, then allow the excess liquid to drain away. It should perk up within an hour or so. Keep in stable conditions so it can recover.

Where to grow poinsettia

poinsettia-marble

Poinsettia are tender plants that grow naturally in warm climates so keep them in a nice warm room, between 16C and 22C.

The most important thing is to avoid dramatic temperature fluctuations. Poinsettia dislike intense heat or icy draughts, so avoid placing them on hot, sunny windowsills or spots near radiators, fires or doorways.

How to water poinsettia

Be careful not to over water poinsettias. Only water when the surface of the compost appears dry – a couple of times a week should be enough. Give them a good soaking in warm water and allow the compost to drain properly.

You can also apply a high-potassium feed every three to four weeks to keep them looking spectacular.

Poinsettia like humidity, which is difficult to maintain indoors, especially with central heating. The best way to create this is to stand the pot on a saucer filled with gravel.

Pour a little water on the saucer, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot. This will evaporate and create a humid atmosphere around the foliage. Keep the saucer topped up for bright, rich, healthy leaves and bracts.

With a little care and not too much watering, your poinsettia should last well into the New Year.

Click Here to see our top 5 Christmas houseplants

Bingley Brewery Bottled Beer

bingley-brewery

About the new Bingley Bottled Beers in stock:-

Centennial is a 4.4% Golden Ale made with pale crystal and rye malts giving the beer a subtle malty backbone. The studious use of the Centennial hop gives it a delicate floral aroma and tangy aftertaste.

Goldy Locks is a 4.0% Blonde made with pale crystal malt giving a delicate toffee after taste. Cascade aroma hop provides a refreshing citrus fragrance.

1848 is a 4.8% creamy Stout made using roasted malts giving a hint of chocolate and liquorice. Northern Brewer hop gives the beer a pleasant bitter finish.

Blantyre is a robust 5% Red ale containing only English hops;Challenger giving a full bodied rounded bitterness and Bramling Cross providing notes that are spicy with blackcurrant and citrus.

Blantyre pump clip image © Mick Melvin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Common Licence.

Vegetables to Grow Over Winter

vegetable-plot

Vegetables to grow outdoors in winter

Most winter vegetable plants are fully hardy and will cope well with cold winter weather, but if hard frosts threaten then you can always throw some fleece across them to provide some extra protection.

Most can be planted or sown directly outdoors to ensure that your winter vegetable garden is fully stocked.

Onions and Shallots

Autumn planting onion sets are easy to grow and will virtually look after themselves over winter. Onions have a long growing season and won’t be ready for harvesting until next summer, so you will need to plan carefully as they will still be in the ground when you start planting other crops in spring.

Garlic

Growing garlic couldn’t be easier and there are lots of varieties to choose from for autumn planting. Like onions, they have a long growing season and won’t be ready to harvest until next summer, but it is well worth the wait!

Spring Onions

Winter hardy varieties of Spring onion make a tasty accompaniment to winter salads. They are a fairly quick growing crop and early autumn sowings should be ready to harvest by early spring.

Perpetual Spinach

Perpetual spinach makes an excellent ‘cut and come again’ crop that will produce huge yields of tasty leaves. Early autumn sowings will keep you supplied with tender young leaves throughout winter and with regular harvesting it will continue to crop well into summer! Be sure to remove the flowers to prevent it running to seed.

Broad Beans

Autumn sown broad beans can be harvested in spring up to a month earlier than spring sown plants. Once the plants are well grown you can even use the plant tips – they are delicious wilted with a little butter.

Peas

Enjoy an early crop of peas next spring. Autumn sowings of rounded varieties will give you a head start next season. You will be the envy of the allotment when you start harvesting peas 3 or 4 weeks earlier than other growers!

Asparagus

If you have plenty of space then why not plant a permanent asparagus bed this autumn. Choose an autumn planting variety. Although asparagus beds take several years to establish, each asparagus crown can produce up to 25 spears per year and will continue cropping for 25 years. You will need to be patient with this crop as it will be 2 years before you can harvest them properly – but the promise of tender, home grown asparagus spears is well worth the wait.

Vegetables to grow in the greenhouse in winter

Growing winter vegetables outdoors will make good use of your plot, but there are some crops that will need a little protection from the cold. These vegetables to grow over winter can be sown into cells and transplanted later into the soil borders of an unheated greenhouse, or grown under polytunnels, cloches and cold frames.

Winter Salads

Salads are not just for summer! Sow tasty ‘cut and come again’ mixes under cover for harvesting throughout the winter months.

Pak Choi

This dual purpose oriental vegetable can be harvested young throughout the winter as individual salad leaves, or let the heads mature and add the succulent stems to stir fries. Pak Choi is quick to mature and packed full of healthy vitamins A and C as well as Calcium, Iron and Folic Acid. Although it is often grown as a summer crop, Pak Choi can still be sown in late summer for transplanting under cover in autumn.