Buying long-lasting poinsettias

When shopping for a poinsettia this season, use these pointers to help you find one that'll last through the holidays.

Credit: Terry Guscott

Tips for choosing a poinsettia that’ll last throughout the holiday season

When shopping for a poinsettia this season, here are a few pointers to help you find one that will last through the holidays. Full foliage is one thing you can see right away in a fresh, healthy poinsettia. The plant should be grown with a balanced, pleasing shape about two to two-and-a-half times the size of the pot it is in, and it should have thick, sturdy stems without being top heavy.

Poinsettias start out green and develop their colour as they mature. Their bracts will range from pink to white to red depending on the type you buy, but regardless of their colour, choose a plant that is full with no green around the edges.

Look for a properly displayed poinsettia, one that is kept in an area free of drafts, and that has been removed from its box and sleeve for good air circulation. Generally speaking, the longer the poinsettia stays in its sleeve, the more quickly it will lose its leaves and bracts.

To transport your poinsettia home, put the sleeve back on and close it off from the freezing outside air. Poinsettias will tolerate a slow change in temperature better than a sudden one, but generally they prefer temperatures above 10°C. If you get your plant home and find that all the leaves are dropping off, it has quite likely caught a draft.