Lawn and Garden
Picky Poinsettias? Not really, an expert says
Festive plants do like it cool
November 21, 2018
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Nothing says winter holidays like a colorful poinsettia. A Kansas State University specialist says it’s not hard to keep them looking healthy and bright through the season.
“Modern poinsettia varieties stay attractive for a long time if given proper care,” said Ward Upham, Master Gardener coordinator with K-State Research and Extension. He says:
- Place your poinsettia in a sunny window or the brightest area of the room, but don't let it touch cold window panes. The day temperature should be 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and 60 to 65 degrees at night. Temperatures above 75 will shorten bloom life, and below 60 may cause root rot.
- Move plants away from drafty windows at night or draw drapes between them to avoid damage from the cold.
- Poinsettias are somewhat finicky in regard to soil moisture. Avoid overwatering because poinsettias do not like "wet feet." On the other hand, if the plant is allowed to wilt, it will drop some leaves.
- Maintain proper moisture by checking the potting soil daily. Stick your finger about one-half inch deep into the soil. If it is dry to this depth, the plant needs water. When it becomes dry to the touch, water the plant with lukewarm water until some water runs out of the drainage hole, then discard the drainage water.
Horticulture is the science and art of growing flowers, fruits, vegetables, turf and ornamental plants. Research and Extension is here to provide seasonal information about the care of your lawn and garden.
Visit the K-State Horticulture Information Center for access to all resources!
Stay in touch with the Horticulture Newsletter from K-State Research and Extension.
Do you have a specific problem?
Our office is ready to help. You may bring in samples to the Grainfield office for evaluation by our Horticulture Agent. Anything from turf, trees, shrubs, weeds, and insects are welcome. We can also send samples for further examination to the Plant Diagnostic Lab at Kansas State University.
Soil samples can also be brought in for soil testing.
Tips for gathering samples for diagnosis:
- Cut a piece of sod, including the upper root and soil layer, about the size of a salad plate, or about 6” x 6".
- Try to collect your sod sample from an area that contains some healthy and dying stages.
- A dead sample will reveal little information.
- Just grass blades are difficult to examine.
- Place the sample in a plastic bag or small container for transporting.
Tree and Shrub
- A 1 foot branch or twig showing the damages is preferred.
- Avoid a limb that is completely dead.
- A handful of leaves is difficult to examine.
- It may be helpful to collect several limbs showing the various stages of decline.
- If possible, cut just before bringing into the office. If cut beforehand, attempt to keep refrigerated to preserve freshness.
- Avoid squashing the insect, if at all possible.
- Trap the insect in a small bottle or bag, rather than between pieces of tape.
- If you need to kill the insect place it in a bottle containing rubbing alcohol.
- If possible, bring the entire plant to the office, pot and all, this gives the best picture of what is going on with the plant.
- A leaf-only sample often does not show enough for a proper diagnosis, please bring in a couple of small roots too.
E-mailing Photographs (send to email@example.com)
- Attaching photos in an e-mail is easy and convenient to do.
- Send several photos, including
- ones up close showing the damage,
- and one that shows the entire plant.
Recommended Plants for North West Kansas
Fruits and Vegetables
Turf and Lawns
Trees and Shrubs