Poinsettias: ‘Golden rule’ for looking after plant – ‘hate nothing more’ than the cold

Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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Poinsettias can be purchased from places like garden centres and are often given as gifts at Christmas. However, if not looked after properly, poinsettias can die very quickly. Experts at Stars for Europe have explained exactly how Britons should be looking after the festive plant.

Stars for Europe said: “The golden rule for poinsettias is don’t let them get too cold.

“They must be kept at a minimum temperature of 15 to 22 degrees Celsius and protected from cold drafts, preferring a warm, sheltered spot and soft filtered light.”

According to the experts, poinsettias “hate nothing more” than a cold draft.

Poinsettias need to be placed in a location where they are kept warm constantly and hate a sudden change in temperature.

The experts said: “Don’t put your baby in a shadowy corner. Poinsettias prefer a light spot rather than full shade, but out of the harsh rays of direct sunlight.

“A good test is to see what kind of shadow your hand makes when you put it into the spot you have in mind for your poinsettia.

“No shadow means the place is too shaded, a dark black shadow means the sun is too bright, but a soft grey shadow is perfect.”

This can be hard during the winter months, when the heating may be on and off constantly.

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However, to help keep them looking their best, they can be misted regularly to increase their humidity.

This should be done in the morning so the plants have time to dry out.

One of the most common problems when it comes to looking after the festive plant is overwatering.

It is very easy to overwater any houseplant, but especially a poinsettia.

The experts explained: “They must not be overwatered and left in soggy soil.

“You should allow the compost to just start drying out before giving your plant light watering, taking care not to soak them.”

Signs of an overwatered poinsettia include grey mould.

They may also have yellow or browning leaves as well as start to wilt.

This can make the plant more vulnerable to pest infestations such as mealybugs and scale insects.

If you suspect you may have overwatered your poinsettia, the plant needs to dry out before watering it again.

Another common houseplant often purchased or given as a gift at this time of year is the Christmas cacti.

Also known as schlumbergera, the plant flowers between November and late January.

Just like a poinsettia, the Christmas cacti loves humidity.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Samantha Jones, Gardening Expert at MyJobQuote, explained: “During this time, they require a humid environment, therefore you may want to consider placing your houseplant in a pebble or gravel saucer, which should be kept moist.

“Christmas cacti should be watered every two to three weeks.”

Although the plant doesn’t like to dry out completely, overwatering can cause limp leaves, which will start to fall off.

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