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Well, you always know the holidays are near upon us by looking around the garden centers or stores for these beautiful poinsettias. They are spectacular. I think this year they're prettier than they've ever before with all these different colors and shades of red, and pink, and then we've got white. So just whatever combination you want to enjoy this year you've got poinsettias to choose from to do that thing.

Now the important thing is you're buying them earlier, in other words you're buying them right after Thanksgiving and you're trying to keep them looking good for 30 to 40 days. That's a long time to keep them in the house. They've been growing out here in the sun so the best thing you can do is put them in the sunniest location that you can.

Or you might want to take them in and out put them out in the daytime and bring them in at night if you can. The most important thing is to never let them dry. Never let the root system dry up. Well that's kind of hard to do, but in my hand I hold the answer and that's four ice cubes. Put four ice cubes in every morning. Scatter them around there and let them slowly melt into the root system of that poinsettia every morning because if it wilts its leaves, the leaves will fall off and then you won't have a very attractive poinsettia.

Also remember the poinsettia is not poisonous so if you grandchildren or children start grazing on them, of course you need to slap them so they won't be eating your beautiful poinsettia, but they're not poisonous they're just not real good as lettuce. So enjoy your poinsettias, set them around and enjoy them all the way through the holidays, but be sure to keep that root system moist.

This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.

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