Poinsettias are always a sign that the holidays have arrived. Since these bright, beautiful red plants line the streets, appear in offices, overwhelm garden centers, and more at this time of year, they have become synonymous with the Christmas season. Native to Central America, the botanical name of the poinsettia plant is “Euphoribia pulchrrima,” which translates to “very beautiful.” To keep your poinsettia very beautiful throughout the year, follow the below steps provided by the floral experts at Bagoy’s Florist. Also, check out our handy infographic on poinsettia care at the end of this post.
Caring for Your Poinsettia When It Is In Bloom
As the poinsettia is a tropical plant, it is important to mimic a tropical-like environment for it to thrive. Make sure the plant is wrapped up to protect it from chilly weather as you transport it from the store. Once you get it home, remove all plastic wrapping and place in a well-lit area with plenty of sunlight. Keep the plant out of areas where it might get cold drafts and do not allow any leaves to touch the chilly window panes. The ideal daytime temperature for a poinsettia is between 60 and 70 degrees F and ideal nighttime temps remain above 55 F.
Water your poinsettia only when it becomes dry to the touch. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes in the bottom of the pot so the roots do not sit in standing water, which will shorten its lifespan. With proper care, a poinsettia plant can last well into March or April.
Should You Keep or Toss Your Poinsettia?
There is no need to toss your poinsettia after the holidays. If you want to try your hand at reblooming it in time for next year’s holidays, then follow the below schedule. To keep it simple, we have linked particular holidays with important care steps.
New Year’s Day: Continue watering as you have been. Don’t fertilize if the plant is in bloom. When it is no longer blooming, begin to fertilize at half-strength weekly.
Valentine’s Day: Snip the stems to about 5-6 inches. Look for bugs and if present, apply a safe homemade insecticide solution of 1 tablespoon of dish soap to 1 gallon of water put into a spray bottle.
St. Patrick’s Day: Prune dead and faded leaves from the plant. Add some fresh soil and keep plant in a sunny location.
Memorial Day: Cut new growth to get stems down to 5 inches to promote branching. Repot into a slightly bigger container.
Father’s Day: The plant can be moved outside into a partially shaded area for the rest of the summer.
Fourth of July: Pinch about 1 inch of new growth from the stems and continue to water and fertilize.
Labor Day: Bring the poinsettia indoors and return to a location that gets plenty of sun for at least 6 hours a day.
Autumn Equinox: Around September 21st, the plant needs to be placed in complete uninterrupted darkness for a minimum of 14 hours each night. A dark closet or under a cardboard box are good ways to achieve this. During the day, keep the plant in a sunny location and maintain watering schedule.
Thanksgiving: Time to stop the darkness treatment. Put your poinsettia in a bright, well-lit area so it receives at least six hours of direct light. Water when soil is dry and stop fertilizing.
Christmas: Enjoy your beautiful, newly bloomed poinsettia and then prepare to start the cycle all over again!
If your plant didn’t bloom, that’s okay. Getting a poinsettia to rebloom can take some practice. If you think it’s just too much work, that’s okay too! You can feel good knowing you’re supporting your local Anchorage florist by picking up a new poinsettia every year to enjoy for the holiday season.