Wondering how to take care of your poinsettia plants this holiday season? These five poinsettia care tips for growing poinsettias indoors will help you keep your lovely Christmas flowers looking beautiful all season long.
Keep Your Poinsettias Beautiful All Season with These Tips!
What is a poinsettia?
Poinsettias are striking plants best known for their green and red foliage and the striking Christmas displays they’re used in. Indigenous to Guatemala and Mexico, the scientific name is euphorbia pulcherrima.
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous to people and only mildly toxic to dogs and cats.
Selective breeding means poinsettias now come in all kinds of beautiful colors, from deep reds to beautiful pinks and stunning whites. They are beautiful to use in all kinds of decor.
How to Take Care of Poinsettia Plants
I love poinsettias during Christmas time, but I have had a horrible track record of keeping them alive. If you’re wondering how to keep your own poinsettias alive during the winter months, you need these tips too!
Buy a healthy plant
You can probably tell if the plant is healthy just by looking at it. Choose a plant that has vibrant green leaves with no brown spots. You’ll want to get a plant with open flowers as poinsettias bloom very slowly. You’ll also want to make sure the flowers are bright and pretty looking.
Don’t let it get cold during transport from store to house
Poinsettias are very susceptible to cold. If you buy a plant during cold weather, make sure you cover it with a bag before you take it outside to keep it from getting shocked. Also, it’s important that you don’t leave it in an unheated car.
If you have a lot of errands to run, make sure you pick up the poinsettia last and take it straight home. It’s better for the plant to take the bag off as soon as possible.
Poinsettias make their debut around Thanksgiving and they prefer temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees. Higher nighttime temperatures will cause their leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Temperatures 55 degrees and under will also cause them to lose their leaves.
Watering and fertilizing a poinsettia
Over-watering is often the number one killer of poinsettias so make sure you let the soil dry to the touch between watering. When the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. Make sure to plant poinsettias in pots with draining holes!
It’s important to allow the water to drain completely from the plant to prevent root rot. Check to the bottom of the dish and empty any excess water so your plants aren’t sitting in water for days on end. Poinsettias also like humidity, so if your house is dry, you might want to give them frequent mists of water.
Do not fertilize poinsettias while they’re blooming, but if you want to make them last between until the next year, you will have to fertilize after they’re done blooming. Any high quality all purpose fertilizer should be fine, but stop fertilizing while the flowers are blooming.
Poinsettias need bright light
Growing poinsettias indoors is not hard, but they need a lot of light. The best place to keep them is near a south facing sunny window. If you notice your poinsettia turning light green, you’ll want to move the plant to a spot that gets more light. It should also be kept relatively warm, with ideal temperatures in the 60-70 degree range.
Protect poinsettias from drafts in your home
Poinsettias are tropical plants and as such are very susceptible to cold drafts. Make sure that no part of it touches a cold window. You’ll also want to keep it away from a furnace vent or a fireplace as well.
Want to try to save your poinsettias until next year?
If you’d like to try your hand at keeping your poinsettias alive for several years, here are a few tips:
Keep them alive by keeping them in a sunny location and continuing to water as described above. They’ll still need that humid environment they needed during the holidays. You’ll also need to fertilize them lightly in the spring and fall. Don’t be alarmed if they turn completely green during this time.
To restore their holiday colors, they’ll need at least 14 hours of complete darkness at night for eight weeks before you want them to bloom. If you want blooming poinsettias at the end of November, that means they need 14 hours of complete darkness starting at the end of September. Read more about turning your poinsettias red again here.
And that’s it! Follow these steps and you should have beautiful poinsettias until Valentine’s Day and maybe even beyond.
If you follow these poinsettia care instructions each year, your flowers will shine at home! Now the big question is, what do you do with your beautiful flowers after the holidays?
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