Poinsettias have become part of the traditional Christmas and are now available in a range of pastel colors from white to red.
Poinsettia require a soil mix of 3 parts loam-based potting compost with 1 part grit. It likes a full light and well ventilated position. When in growth you have to water it sparingly and apply a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer monthly. Keep dry in winter.
You can propagate Poinsettia by sowing seeds in spring, by division in early spring, by basal cuttings in spring or early summer by dipping cut surfaces in charcoal or lukewarm water to prevent bleeding.
Poinsettias are short-day plants and need special treatment to have them bloom for Christmas. Keep the plants in an area where night temperatures are around 15 Celsius degrees (60 F) and protect from artificial light at night. It needs 12-14 hours of complete darkness daily for at least 2 month to initiate flowering. Control day length by placing the plant in a dark area at 5 pm and removing it at 8 am. Do this for 11 weeks. Start now, in mid autumn, for a good Christmas blooms. In addition to this treatment, be sure to provide them with adequate water, fertilizer, and night temperatures to get a healthy display of color for the holidays.
After flowering, keep the compost just moist and place the Poinsettia in a warm brightly lit room to ensure the brightest bract color. Plants will discolor and start to drop their leaves and bracts if they get too cold so make sure that they are well wrapped when you buy them in flowering period.