The One to Count On...

Care for Poinsettias, Check for Whiteflies Before Purchase

Posted: Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 6:20 am
Author: Sally Y. Hart - KCII News

Contributed image

Evergreens, Christmas cacti, and poinsettias are holiday favorites to bring some greenery into homes this time of year.

Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach advise you may have noticed small, white insects flutter about when watering poinsettias. These are likely whiteflies, which are common insect pests for the plant, as well as hibiscus, chrysanthemum, and other indoor plants. Whiteflies are small, moth-like insects and females lay eggs on the undersides of plant foliage. After five to seven days those eggs hatch into small, pale green, immature insects. These crawl and settle down to feed, and in two to three weeks reach adult stage. These bugs feed on the plant’s sap and can cause stunting, yellowing of leaves, or leaf drop. Unfortunately, whiteflies are difficult to control and prevention is the best management strategy. When purchasing plants, check them for whiteflies or other insects.