Learn how to care for Christmas cactus and poinsettias
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Poinsettias can be found in most homes across the UK at this time of year thanks to their star-shaped leafy red bracts. The plants are particularly popular at this time of year with more than eight million plants sold in the UK every year.
In the USA, more than 35 million are sold every year which accounts for almost one-quarter of the potted plants sold.
Although the plant is popular, many people don’t realise they need to water the plant correctly in order for it to thrive.
With this in mind, Express.co.uk spoke to three experts about caring for poinsettias, in particular how to water them correctly.
Dobbies’ Senior Houseplant Buyer, Claire Bishop said the “key” to looking after poinsettias is finding the right place for them.
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She explained: “Poinsettias like a lot of light so you should place them in a bright spot where they’ll get at least six hours of indirect sunlight per day.
“However, you should avoid direct sunlight as this could scorch the plant’s leaves.
“Poinsettias also like warmth so you should keep them away from windows and other draughty spots as this could cause the plant’s flowers to drop.”
Poinsettias are indigenous to Mexico and Central America which is why they don’t like to be too cold.
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Watering poinsettias is similar to watering other houseplants that are native to hotter climates like rainforests.
They should only be watered when the top layer of compost in the container is dry.
Claire added: “When it comes to watering your plant, you should only water your poinsettia when the soil is dry to the touch.
“This will vary on the temperature of your home, so your plant could require watering every few days, or once a week depending on its surroundings.
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“Make sure they are planted in a pot with good drainage and mist the poinsettia’s leaves regularly to ensure they stay hydrated when you have your heating on in winter.”
Angela Slater, expert at Hayes Garden World agreed and said the compost should be kept “just damp” but should be dry before it’s watered.
She also advised feeding the plant with a specific feed to keep it thriving throughout Christmas.
She explained: “Keep the compost just damp and wait until the surface has dried out before watering.
“Feed every two to three weeks with a high potash feed such as Tomorite.
“If you let the compost alternate between too wet and too dry it could lose its leaves and if it is left in wet compost for too long it will rot.”
Miracle-Gro’s gardening guru, Kate Turner said poinsettias shouldn’t be watered with cold water.
She added: “Water your plant with room temperature water, when the top layer of compost is dry – but make sure it’s never sat in water.”
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