It’s just not the holidays until you see pretty red poinsettias everywhere. Most people pick one, or several, to bring home to add to their Christmas decor. However, most people may not realize that once the poinsettia’s leaves drop off, you don’t have to toss it! With proper care and the instructions listed below, you can keep your poinsettia alive and thriving until it reblooms next Christmas. The experts here at Swenson & Silacci provide you with all the details you need to keep your poinsettia all year long. Plus, at the bottom, you will see an informative infographic with important poinsettia tips.
Where to Place Your Poinsettia
The poinsettia plant comes from Central America, so it’s important to maintain a sunny and warm environment for it. If the temperature goes below 65 degrees F, then the leaves may drop. Poinsettias like plenty of light so place them in an area that gets indirect, bright sunlight for at least 6 hours.
Water your poinsettia when the top inch of soil is dry. Give it a good dose of water but only until the soil is moist, not soggy. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes for excess water to run through. If water collects in a saucer underneath the plant’s container, wait for 10 minutes and then toss out the excess. Do not allow the roots to sit in standing water for too long or root rot could occur.
It’s normal for poinsettia leaves to drop off after the holidays. In the spring, its stems will be bare but still growing. Now is the time to scale back on the watering schedule and allow your poinsettia to fully dry out between waterings. In May, pruning its stems by cutting them down to about 6 inches. This will help ensure a lush, full plant in winter. Spring is also a good time to begin fertilizing.
Move Your Poinsettia Outside in the Summer
When the weather gets warmer, typically around June, move your poinsettia plant to an area outside that receives dapple morning light but it in the shade for the rest of the day. Direct, afternoon light is too much for a poinsettia to tolerate, so place it under a tree or on the patio. If so desired, you can begin fertilizer at half-strength during the summer. Once the branches have grown some more, pinch about an inch off of each stem.
Check regularly for pests that like to hide on the underside of the leaves. If necessary, spray a simple homemade insecticide solution of 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap to 1 gallon of water to eliminate any pesky intruders.
When to Move Your Poinsettia Inside
When the end of summer nears and temps drop to below 65 degrees F, move your poinsettia back inside. This is when you’ll cultivate the deep red bloom poinsettias are known for. To accomplish this, you need to ensure your plant gets a minimum of 12 hours of complete uninterrupted darkness. A common method for achieving this desired darkness is to place a cardboard box over the poinsettia at 5:00 p.m. and take it off at 8:00 a.m. During the day, move the plant to a sunny spot with indirect bright light. This routine must be maintained for at least 8 weeks to encourage the plant to bloom in time for the holiday season. Start the reblooming process around October 1st to ensure your poinsettia is ready in time for the holidays.
When the beautiful red leaves have returned, stop fertilizing and water as you did last season. After the holidays, start the process all over again and relish in your cleverness for reblooming your poinsettia. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right, but don’t despair, your local Salinas florist is happy to answer any questions, or provide you with a fresh poinsettia as well as gorgeous seasonal flowers. Happy Holidays!