If you sometimes feel guilty about tossing your poinsettias after the holidays, then just keep them as houseplants. With the proper care and the correct regimen, you can keep your poinsettia plant all year – and even get it to bloom again. Here are some useful facts about this beautiful plant and information on how to care for it over the year brought to you by the floral experts at Carithers Flowers.
- Poinsettias are named after an amateur botanist, Joel Robert Poinsett, who brought the plant to the U.S. from Mexico in 1825.
- Poinsettias are tropical plants and can grow nearly 10 feet high in the wild.
- Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or children as commonly believed unless ingested in large quantities. The plant does have milky sap with its stems that can be a slight irritant, though.
- Poinsettias come in a variety of colors besides just red, such as white, cream, pink, speckled, and multicolored.
- The brightly-colored leaves “bracts” and are different from the flowers, which are small and round and located in the center of the stalk.
Since they are tropical plants, poinsettias need lots of bright light, warm temperatures, and humidity to survive. When your plant is in bloom, maintain the below conditions for optimal growth.
Light: Poinsettias desire at least 6 hours of natural bright, indirect light every day. Choose a bright window free of cold drafts.
Temperature: Poinsettias like temperatures that fall between 65 and 75 F. If they are exposed to cold temperatures for too long, they will likely drop leaves..
Watering: Water only when the top soil feels dry, and make sure the water can drain thoroughly. Avoid letting the plant sit in water. Mist regularly to increase humidity.
Nutrients: Do not fertilize your plant while it is blooming. Feeding the plant will come later.
Poinsettia Care Calendar
Winter: (Jan – Mar) Keep the poinsettia in a warm, sunny window and water regularly to keep the soil moist.
Spring: (Apr – May) After the leaves fade and then fall off, the plant will enter its rest period. Prune the stems back to 4-5 inches tall and reduce the amount of water. This will signal the plant to go into its rest period.
Summer: (May – Sep) Repot into a larger container with fresh potting soil. When you see growth begin fertilizing with a half-strength solution monthly. Pinch back the stems to promote side branching – allow 2-3 nodes per stem to remain. Your poinsettia can be moved outdoors to a partially shaded area at this time.
Fall: (Oct) Beginning in early October, the poinsettia requires complete and uninterrupted darkness for 12-15 hours a day in order to rebloom. Cover your plant with a thick cardboard box or put in a dark closet. During the day, feed and water as usual ensuring the plant receives at least six hours of sunlight.
Holiday Season: (Nov – Dec) After eight to ten weeks of long hours in the dark, you should start to see flower buds on your plant. Place the poinsettia back in a sunny window and stop the dark treatment. Water as usual but discontinue fertilizing. Now, you can cherish your rebloomed poinsettia for the holidays.
This may seem a bit challenging for some and there are no guarantees your plant will rebloom. Some poinsettias just won’t. But, it’s worth a try at least once! If it’s not for you, don’t worry! Your local Atlanta florist definitely appreciates your support each season when you purchase your poinsettias from them.