If there is one colour that epitomises Christmas it has to be red. Red is warm and cosy, but also bright, and in stark contrast to the mainly dull and drab weather conditions at this time of year. Red coloured decorations have been part of our Christmas traditions for many centuries, originating in the druid practice of bringing holly boughs covered in berries into the home for the midwinter festivities. Nowadays, we still have red at the centre of many Christmas decorations and on festive cards; featuring Father Christmas, robins, or even Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer!
If there is one pot plant that matches this vibrant colour scheme perfectly, it’s the Poinsettia. What better plant to have as a living festive table decoration or give as a Christmas gift? Clearly this view is very widely held, as the Poinsettia is one of the largest selling pot plants throughout the world. Whilst the iconic red bract colour vastly dominates the market, Poinsettias are also available in many shades of white, pink and salmon and some have marbled or speckled bracts to add to the variety.
Poinsettias are native to Central America, especially Mexico, and were used by the Aztecs as a medicine and also a red dye. They became associated with Christmas when they were introduced into the United States in the 1820’s by the US ambassador to Mexico and botany enthusiast Joel Roberts Poinsett, from whom the name used today derives.
Hortifeeds have been working with a number of leading growers of Poinsettias for many years, over this time we have worked with these expert growers to develop our bespoke HortiMix Poinsettia Specialmix. Thissoluble fertiliser provides the best balance of major nutrients and trace elements for UK crop requirements. The unique package of trace elements contained in the HortiMix Poinsettia Special have been adapted over the years based on analysis of many hundreds of samples of growing media and leaf tissue to provide the ideal balance of elements for all growth stages. Where additional calcium is required for this Ca hungry crop, this can be supplemented using calcium nitrate in a 2 tank system or by alternating HortiMix and calcium nitrate feeds. Where soft water is being used for irrigation and calcium levels need to be increased even further, we offer our range of HortiMix Soft Water Mix soluble fertilisers. This includes the balanced N:K ratio 15-5-15 for growth stage development, and the high potassium 13-5-20 and 12-4-25 ratios for finishing. Ask your Hortifeeds Sales Manager for advice on which fertiliser choice works best in your situation.
As one might expect from a plant from Central America, Poinsettias are adapted to grow in fairly warm conditions with just enough water, but never standing in waterlogged compost, which is one of the quickest ways to kill them. Rooting can be encouraged and improved with regular use of HortiPhyte, a biostimulant which activates the plants systemic resistance to fungal pathogens and boosts vigorous root production.
HortiMix soluble fertilisers all contain generous levels of trace elements so that deficiency symptoms will not occur if feed levels are maintained at suitable levels. However, if nutrition levels are lower than ideal or other fertilisers are used, trace element levels can easily be corrected or maintained using HortiChel Compound Foliar Trace Element Mix, which provides additional magnesium, sulphur, iron, manganese and zinc in an easily applied and readily absorbed form.
Pointsettia plants have a long growing season and are big investment in time and space, therefore using the correct feeding regime is important to getting the best quality plants.