Our most recent article, as published in the Mt. Democrat newspaper:
Selection and Care
By Laurel Rady
UCCE Master Gardener of El Dorado County
The Poinsettia should look full, balanced and attractive on all sides; and be about 2.5 times taller than the diameter of its container. It should not be drooping or wilted. Choose a plant with dark green foliage down to the soil line. Do not select a plant with lots of green around bract edges. Do not select plants with fallen or yellow leaves. Examine the cyathia, the plant’s “true” flowers (located at the base of the colored bracts). Select only Poinsettias with cyathia that are green or red-tipped, and fresh-looking. Do not select a plant with yellow cyathia, or with yellow pollen covering the flowers -- yellow cyathia and pollen indicate that the plant is past its prime and will not last. Check the soil: if it is wet and the plant is wilted, it could have root rot. Check the undersides of leaves for insects, such as aphids and whiteflies. Avoid plants that are crowded close together as this causes premature bract loss. Avoid plants that have been displayed in paper or plastic sleeves, as this causes the Poinsettia to deteriorate at a faster rate. When you take the Poinsettia home, have it sleeved if the outside temperature is lower than 50 degrees.
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