20161129A.jpgThat popular Christmas plant, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), is the canary in the coal mine of the houseplant world when it comes to the toxic gas called carbon monoxide (CO).

It reacts reacting negatively to its presence even when humans show no symptoms. If your plant starts losing its leaves and bracts as soon as you bring it home and there seems to br no other reason for this reaction (for other things that can cause poinsettias leaf loss, read Why is My Poinsettia Losing Its Leaves), the level of carbon monoxide in your home may be dangerously high.

If this happens, use a commercially available carbon monoxide detector to check the level of carbon monoxide in your home. If it goes off, leave the house without delay and call 9-1-1!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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