Poinsettias are synonymous with the holidays and are a great plant to have during that time. Poinsettias are inexpensive, easy to handle/care for and fit in almost any space as they come in various sizes. If properly cared for, poinsettias can continue to display their beauty well into the New Year until Easter or even beyond.
Good plant care begins with purchasing healthy plants. Avoid buying poinsettias with thin or wilting foliage, broken stems or have an otherwise unhealthy appearance. Handle poinsettias with care and avoid rough handling which can break stems.
Temperature & Lighting
Un-wrap poinsettias as soon as you bring them home to allow exposure to fresh air. Temperatures comfortable to humans are most ideal for poinsettias (low seventies during day time, low sixties at night). Hot/cold drafts should be avoided.
If poinsettias are only desired for the holiday season, lower light levels are tolerated. However, if one wants to keep poinsettias well into January and February, poinsettias prefer bright, indirect light. Locations near windows are often best but prolonged direct sunlight will fade the color in the bracts.
Adequate moisture is critical with poinsettias. Poinsettias require consistent moisture—they suffer in extremely wet or dry soil. Wet soil causes root rotting, wilting and possibly death. Dry soil causes wilting and death when extreme. It’s important to water poinsettias when the soil feels dry to the touch—avoid watering if the soil is already moist. After watering thoroughly, excess water should drain freely. If excess water accumulates in the drainage saucer, be sure to discard this water within 15 minutes of watering (otherwise the water will wick back into the soil and fully saturate the soil).
If the soil becomes to dry, poinsettias will quickly wilt—sometimes to the point of no return. If a poinsettia has started wilting due to dry soil, immediately water it. If the soil has gotten excessively dry, the poinsettia may not recover. For this reason, it’s important to not let poinsettias get too dry. Monitor soil moisture on a regular basis. Check soil moisture with a probe or by touch. Lifting pots to feel how light-weight or heavy the soil is can also be helpful (dry soils feel light-weight, wet are heavy).
If poinsettia-care is desired only for the holiday-season only, fertilizer is not necessary. However, if the poinsettia will be maintained until early spring, a few applications of an all-purpose fertilizer will help give it a boost.
Poinsettias are mistakenly regarded as poisonous—although not a plant you or your pets should eat, they are not lethal. If ingested, discomfort of varying degrees can be expected but not serious illness or death.
Poinsettias bloom, but the actual flower of the poinsettia is often mistaken. The “red leaves” of poinsettias are often thought to be the blooms of the poinsettias. The “red leaves” are not blooms—rather, modified leaves called bracts. The actual poinsettia blooms are the small yellow clusters in the center of the bracts.
Green Side Up,
Click here to learn where poinsettia got its name and how it came to be associated with the holidays.
Do you keep poinsettias in your home or office during the holidays? Share below in the comments!