The Christmas star is typical of the winter period, but it is also very often kept in the apartment. The plant is native to Mexico, so a climate as similar as possible to its native region helps to grow healthy and lush Christmas stars. Like all plants, the quantity and frequency of irrigation are among the key elements to his health.
Remembering that no plant likes stagnant water, even for the Christmas star we will avoid that the roots are in permanent contact with the water, making sure that the pot has a good drainage. Watering must be careful: the Poinsettia must be wet when the soil is dry. This also means every day during the summer, but it can only be once a week in winter, if the soil is moist.
Abundant irrigation that also soaks the leaves does not bother the Christmas star, as long as not too much calcareous water is used. As already mentioned, it is good to wait for the soil to dry before wetting, but do not leave the plant dry too long.
How to Grow the Christmas Star
The Christmas star adapts to apartment life as long as certain specific requirements are met. In her country of origin there are no sudden and strong changes in temperature, so these must be avoided. It should not be placed where doors or windows that significantly change the heat of the environment open continuously. The Christmas star prefers rooms that are not too hot, with a constant temperature and the right degree of humidity.
This last condition can be obtained by placing it in a saucer with gravel and water, or in a room with environmental humidifiers. The bracts, i.e. the leaves that surround the small yellow or green flowers rather insignificant, turn red when the hours of darkness are those that are needed for this phenomenon, ie about twelve. During the summer season, when the plant loses its leaves, it can be taken outside and pruned. The cut branches can be used to make cuttings.
Watering it from time to time and fertilizing it periodically, it can be brought home at the arrival of the first cold and, kept in rooms with many hours of darkness, will color again.
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How and when to fertilize the Christmas star
The Euphorbia Pulcherrima, or Christmas star, is quite delicate, especially as soon as you leave the nursery and especially because of the temperature changes that it may suffer during transport or in its new accommodation. To make it last long and appropriate to prune it after flowering that, if the plant is in ideal condition, lasts until the beginning of summer.
The branches are cut at about one third of their height and the Christmas star needs to be reinvigorated for the next flowering season. To give it the nourishment it needs, it will be fertilized with a fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15 – 20 days. For this plant is more important the regularity than the quantity, so we will use it little by little, but we will administer it throughout the year.
The most experienced, able to dose the nutrients to be supplied to the plants, from October may decrease the percentage of nitrogen in favor of potassium, to promote the production of colored bracts and flowers.
The Christmas Star: Exposure, Illnesses and Remedies
Some insect pests can attack the Christmas stars and affect their growth. The most feared are mites, which cause round, discoloured areas; if discovered at an early stage, they can be eradicated with a few specific products.diseases due to fungi are frequent if the plant is kept with excessive humidity. In these cases, in addition to eliminating the cause of the mold and thus keep the Christmas star in a more suitable condition, it is useful to administer copper-based fungicides.
Be careful not to wet the leaves, except with non calcareous vaporized water, and carry out treatments after sunset. larvae and white flies can infest the Christmas star in conditions of still air, lack of light during the day and too humid soil. In these situations, fight pests and eliminate the triggers.
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