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Poinsettia Care


Poinsettia: Euphorbia pulcherima

Origin: Native to tropical Mexico. The US Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Roberts-Poinsett, brought the first poinsettia flower to the United States in 1928.

Watering: Do not let the plant dry out, water when the top half of the soil feels dry to the touch. Be careful not to over water which can cause buds to drop. To add more humidity to a dry atmosphere, place the pot on a tray of pebbles and keep the pebbles moist.

Light: Place in indirect sunlight at least 6 hours a day.

Temperature: Thrives in room temperatures of 68 to 70 degrees F. Do not put plants on top of a television or near fireplaces where the heat will be excessive. Also, avoid cold drafts and temperatures below 50 degrees F. Protect plants from chilling winds when transporting during the holidays.

Fertilizing: Do not fertilize during bloom season. Resume feeding with an all purpose fertilizer every 2 weeks after blooms fade.

Are Poinsettias Poisonous?

Many believe or have heard that poinsettias are poisonous when eaten. But studies conducted at Ohio State University in cooperation with the Society of American Florists have concluded that no toxicity was likely to occur in a home environment.

In fact, the POISINDEX Information Service, a primary information source for poison control centers, states that a 50 lb. child would have to eat 500 poinsettia bracts (the traditional red leaves of the plant) to exceed experimental doses, and even then there was no sign of toxicity.

According to Dr. Edward Krenzelok, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center, it is "highly unlikely for any significant adverse effect to occur after ingestion of small to modest amounts of the poinsettia plant" (quoted in article from drkoop.com listed below). Be aware that ingestion can cause gastric irritation in some cases, and contact with the sap may cause skin irritation, so be sure to consult with your local poison control center if you have questions about the safety of any plant.

Source Information:

http://www.snopes2.com (search for poinsettia)
Snopes Urban Legends site

Despite the Myth, Ohio State Study Proves Poinsettias Are Not Toxic
Ohio State University Press Release


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