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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima, which see), is one of the most popular plants for the Christmas season. It is a shrub of tropical America with inconspicuous flowers but with flaming red leaves or bracts (with variations to pink and white), clustered near the top. It is for these leaves that the plant is grown (Fig. 1440, Vol. II).

Poinsettias require rather a long period of rest. After the bracts are cut, lay them on their side near the pipes under a carnation - house bench. About the first of May is the best time to start them for cuttings. They should then be placed on a light bench in the full sun in a temperature of not less than 60°. The eyes will start into growth near the top of the cane, and by June 1 one can take the first batch of cuttings. These are found most suitable for stock plants as they grow rather tall to be of much use for decorative purposes. Pot the cuttings singly in small pots in sand. It is better to have a little sphagnum moss in the bottom of each pot for the roots to grip. Place them in a tight case shaded from the sun. The temperature should never be less than 65°. Water the cuttings every morning until they root, except on dull days. When rooted, pot them in 3 1/2 inch pots in equal parts of loam, leaf- mold, and sand. The next shift may be a 6-inch pot, and a good fibrous loam with a sixth part of sheep- manure added. They will form a fine large bract in this size pot, and require no further potting although they should be fed with manure-water until the yellow flower appears in the center of the bracts. After the first batch of cuttings has been removed, the stock plants should be planted out-of-doors. One gets far firmer and as many cuttings by this treatment, and the cuttings now secured and rooted may be used in various ways. Twelve cuttings rooted as advised above and placed in a 10-inch pot make a fine specimen plant for Christmas. Others may be grown about 2 feet high for single-stem plants. The last cuttings to be rooted for the season should be secured not later than the middle of August, and they are excellent for making up shallow pans for centerpieces for Christmas. Poinsettias should at all times be grown as near the glass as possible, and during the summer months the house should have full air day and night. Never, however, allow the temperature to drop below 60°, and avoid draughts, as this will tend to make the foliage drop, and the retaining of the leaves is one of the attractive points in a well-grown plant of poinsettia. Insect pests that attack the poinsettia can be eradicated by the use of hydrocyanic gas, as advised for other plants.

George F. Stewart.

Poison Berry: Cestrum. P. Dogwood: Rhus vernix. P. Elder: Rhus venenata. P. Hemlock: Conium maculatum. P. Ivy: Rhua Toxicodendron. P. Oak: Rhus Toxicodendron. P. Sumac: Rhus vermix.


The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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