During pre-holiday shopping in search of Christmas decorations and gifts, a bright plant with large red-green leaves often catches the eye. This is the most beautiful spurge, it is also called the most beautiful poinsettia or the Christmas star. This perennial flower will be a wonderful present for loved ones. Or you can add it to your home green corner. But in order for the plant to please for a very long time, you need to know the features of caring for it.
This flower grows on the shady, damp mountain slopes of Central America and Mexico. It reaches a height of 0.6 to 4 meters. The leaves have sparse teeth along the edges (sometimes almost invisible) and a dark green color. Usually their length does not exceed twelve centimeters. Of greater interest are bracts, which many mistakenly take for flowers. They can be red, pink, white and yellow. You can also see cream and orange shades. There are also two-color copies on sale. The flowers themselves are quite inconspicuous, small, yellowish andbundled.
It is worth noting that the milky juice of the most beautiful milkweed, the photo of which is presented in the article, is poisonous. If it comes into contact with the skin, it can cause severe allergies. Typically, such reactions occur on liquids of almost all members of the family.
Carefully bring home
As already mentioned, the flower is quite tall, but it is in its natural habitat. In stores, they sell fairly compact specimens that do not exceed 30-60 centimeters in height. Breeders managed to achieve such dwarfism thanks to chemicals that inhibit growth. In any case, poinsettia branches are very fragile. Therefore, spurge must be transported to the house with extreme care so as not to break it. It is also important to protect the plant from the cold, otherwise it will injure the foliage - it will wilt and darken.
Where to put the flower?
After careful delivery to a new home for the most beautiful milkweed (or poinsettia), you need to find a suitable place. The ideal would be one in which the morning sun caresses and the afternoon shadow soothes. The air in the room should not be too dry. The plant should not be placed near heating appliances.
It should also be kept away from children and animals, because milky juice is very poisonous. Most often, an allergic reaction occurs in those who have latex intolerance. It is believed that the kitchen will be the most successful location. But you can put the flower in another room if you think this solution is more correct.
Direct sunlight is destructive for poinsettias. She prefers bright but diffused light. In the summer, it is recommended to expose the flower to a sunny place where it can breathe fresh air. For example, it can be an open balcony or garden. At the same time, it is important to create a light shadow for the most beautiful milkweed in order to hide it from direct rays. It must also not be exposed to drafts or rain.
If for some reason you cannot take the flower outdoors in the summer, then just ventilate the room regularly.
In a cool room, the bracts and flowers last longer on the poinsettia. Therefore, it is better to keep it at a temperature not higher than 15-18 degrees Celsius. During active growth, it is better to warm up the room to 20-22 degrees. During the dormant period, the temperature must be significantly reduced, 12-14 degrees will be optimal. Also, do not forget that spurge does not like drafts and sudden changes in temperature. Therefore, the heat regime for the plant must be changed gradually.
The most beautiful Euphorbia (or the most beautiful poinsettia) is a moisture-loving plant. Therefore, it is useful to periodically spray with soft and warm water.
Dry hot air is destructive for a flower. For this reason, it is not placed next to heating devices. To create more favorable conditions during the heating season, the pot should be kept on a pallet with wet gravel. It is also useful to spray regularlyleaves, but you can't hit the bracts.
During the growing season, poinsettia should be watered abundantly, but without fanaticism. It doesn't need to be done too often either. Quite dry ground will be an indicator. Excess moisture can harm the plant. If you add too much water to the pot, it threatens the roots with rotting. Let the liquid drain, and then drain it from the pan.
During the dormant period, spurge needs less and less water. Therefore, between watering, it is necessary to dry the top layer of soil thoroughly. It is also worth considering that the roots rot much faster in coolness. Therefore, water should be poured into the pot very rarely.
From spring to autumn, home care for the most beautiful milkweed must necessarily include regular feeding. It is best to take mineral fertilizers and apply them every fourteen days. During periods of active growth, it is recommended to feed the poinsettia with a special composition for indoor flowering plants.
Soil for milkweed
For this plant, light mixtures that do not retain moisture are best suited. These are leafy soil, soddy land, sand and peat. They need to be taken in a ratio of 3:3:1:1. Also, do not forget about good drainage.
Departure during dormancy
Immediately after spurge blossoms, it needs a two-month dormant period. At this time, the plant must be kept at a temperature of 12 to 14 degrees Celsius. Watering should be done rarely, but should not be alloweddrying of the earth to a dusty state.
Features of transplant
The flower finishes resting in the spring months (around April-May). At this time, you can do a transplant. For the most beautiful milkweed care at home, you should start with pruning. The plant must be well shortened, since new leaves will not appear on the bare old shoots. Three to five strong buds are usually left on the stem. After that, the most beautiful poinsettia is placed in a warm room on the sunny side. Watering should be done with slightly heated water.
When the Christmas star begins to grow and leaves appear, it can be transplanted. It is necessary to take a new nutritious (slightly acidic) mixture of leafy, soddy soil, sand and peat. In extreme cases, shop land for begonias is suitable. Don't forget good drainage.
When the transplant is completed, it is recommended to move the spurge to a warm place where it is at least twenty degrees. From this point on, you can start spraying and watering the plant abundantly. But stagnation of water in a pot should absolutely not be.
Soon new shoots will grow on the bush of the most beautiful milkweed. It is enough to leave six strong ones, and the rest can be cut off. Removed shoots can be used as propagation cuttings.
As a rule, a flower is propagated in late spring or early summer using apical cuttings. Each of them should have at least five internodes. It is worth noting that it is better to work with gloves, because whencutting begins to stand out milky juice. In the process, it can be removed with blotting paper. If the milky juice is secreted profusely and does not stop flowing, it can be stopped by placing the cuttings in cold water for a short time. After the cut, it must be processed, sprinkled with charcoal. It is necessary to do this, because milky juice contributes to clogging of blood vessels. This interferes with wound healing, causing infection and decay.
Rooting cuttings of the most beautiful milkweed flower (or poinsettia) is allowed both in water and in a loose moist substrate - sand and peat, which are taken in equal proportions. For greater efficiency, you can use growth stimulants (for example, heteroauxin). During rooting in the room, you need to maintain a temperature of at least 24-28 degrees Celsius. It is also important to constantly ventilate the container and spray the cuttings.
Usually, after a month of such manipulations, roots appear. Young plants can be planted in small pots. If you want to get spurge with a large cap, then the grown flower should be cut off. This will encourage branching.
How to achieve repeated flowering?
The life cycle of the most beautiful poinsettia includes three phases: winter flowering, a dormant period and a time of active growth. This is the natural cycle of the plant. However, many flower growers are interested in how to make the most beautiful euphorbia bloom again.
For this, it is recommended to maintain a special lighting regime from the end of September. When do they starttwilight (at about six o'clock in the evening), the plant must be removed to a dark place or covered with a black plastic bag that does not let light through. It can only be removed in the morning (about eight o'clock). Thus, the poinsettia should be in the dark for about 12-14 hours. It is important to maintain this lighting regime for eight weeks. Longer daylight hours, even artificially made, will enhance leaf growth and deter buds.
After about two to three weeks of the shortened day, the plant will begin to form flower buds, then bright bracts. You can then resume normal care.
Signs of improper care
Sometimes caring for the most beautiful milkweed causes difficulties for beginner flower growers. Difficulties may include:
- Wilting leaves. The reason lies in excessive or, conversely, insufficient watering.
- Yellowing and falling leaves. In this case, the lighting in the room is poor or the air humidity is low.
- Leaf edges turn yellow or brown. Again, the problem may arise due to insufficient air humidity.
- Falling leaves without any signs of wilting. Most likely, the poinsettia was exposed to drafts or low temperatures.
If you notice at least one adverse symptom, then immediately review the care for errors. This is the only way you can save your plant.
Diseases and pests
The plant may be affected by the scale insect, redspider mites and nematodes. The whitefly is considered especially dangerous. Also, a lot of harm is caused by worms that cover the foliage with honeydew. A sign of a spider mite is yellowing, drying of the plant and even death. If the leaves curl up and oblong wavy spots appear on them, this means that the most beautiful spurge flower is affected by thrips. The shield can be easily removed with a damp cloth. But at the first sign of the disease, in any case, you need to spray the bush with a systemic insecticide. Repeat treatment if necessary.
Sometimes the plant suffers from diseases such as rust, anthracnose, root and gray rot. In the latter case, lead-colored spots can be seen on the leaves and lower branches of the bush. In these diseases, experts recommend destroying the affected areas, and then treat the entire poinsettia with a special antifungal agent.
Results. Care by month
To make the features of care more clear, it is worth considering the specific actions that flower growers usually perform throughout the year.
April-May. When the leaves and bracts begin to fall, shorten the stems, leaving no more than eight centimeters. The plant must be kept in a cool room, the temperature in which is 15-18 degrees. Watering should be done after the soil is completely dry.
May-September. The time of transplantation of beautiful milkweed (or poinsettia). Replace all or most of the soil. Move the flower to a larger pot. Once established, fertilize every two weeks. During this period you needremove weak growth, leaving only four to five strong stems.
October-November. From the end of September it is already possible to regulate daylight hours. It should last 12-14 hours. The rest of the time, euphorbia should be kept in a dark place. Feed and water as usual. Maintain this regimen for eight weeks.
December-January. Artificial shortening of the day must be stopped. The plant needs the usual feeding and watering. Euphorbia will begin to bloom.
February-March. The dormant period begins. Keep the flower at a temperature of 12-14 degrees, water rarely, but do not allow the earth to dry out.
Now you know how to care for the most beautiful milkweed. Do not forget to monitor the he alth of the plant in order to help it in time.