Many greenhouse operators throughout Europe are highly dependent upon poinsettias, which not only sell in huge quantities but enable commercial growers to stay full operational all year long, as poinsettias start to grow when most other high cash crops and plants have stopped flourishing.
While it’s easy to keep poinsettias at their prime well into the New Year (see panel, below), shoppers who prefer to buy a sparkling new plant every year can dispose of their old plant in a manner that actually helps the environment. Like many other houseplants, poinsettias can be added to compost heaps where they will naturally break down along with other garden waste into wonderful, nutrient-rich organic matter. Once decomposed, the crumbly brown material from compost bins can be added to flower beds and veg plots to breathe new life into tired soil.
The five golden tips for poinsettia success
1) Keep plants wrapped up and protected from cold on the way home from the shop.
2) Display your poinsettia in a warm room, at temperatures of around 15-22°C.
3) Poinsettias thrive in bright light; in winter even direct sunlight should be manageable.
4) Water sparingly, allowing compost to almost dry out in between watering.
5) Take care to avoid placing poinsettias in draughty areas or plants may sulk!