How to Take Care of a Poinsettia
Did you get a poinsettia for Christmas? Are you wondering how to take care of a poinsettia? What is a Poinsettia anyway?
A poinsettia is a type of flowering plant that is very popular during the Christmas season. They are often given as gifts to family, friends, and coworkers.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and they are named after Joel Robert Poinsettia who was the first US Minister to Mexico. It is hard to say when these plants became popular in the United States, but they were originally brought back by sailors from Central America.
Following these tips on caring for your poinsettia is not difficult. Plus it will help make the holidays more enjoyable. A lot of people are hesitant and not sure about taking care of poinsettias. However they are actually quite easy to take care of. Here are some steps that will help keep your poinsettia healthy and happy.
1. How to Pick Out the Perfect Poinsettia
Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are one of the most popular Christmas plants. They come in many colors and sizes, and lots of people use them to decorate their living spaces during the winter holidays.
In this article, we’ll go over how to pick out a healthy poinsettia so you know what you’re getting your family and friends for Christmas.
What is a Poinsettia? A poinsettia is a beautiful flowering plant that typically comes in red, pink, or white. These three colors are usually what you will see at the store.
If you want to make your poinsettia last as long as possible, purchase one in a single color. Below is a list of things to keep in mind when purchasing a poinsettia from the store:
– Size: A poinsettia should be at least six inches tall and have at least five leaves.
– Color: A healthy poinsettia will be bright and colorful with no signs of browning or wilting. It will also have all its petals intact and not broken off.
– Shape: The shape of the plant should be compact and symmetrical. It should not look like it has been damaged by pests and it should not be droopy.
2. What Is The Best Way To Water A Poinsettia?
Watering is not an arduous task. I Simply keep track of the moisture levels in the soil by sticking a finger in it (usually up to the second knuckle). Just following these steps!
1. Water poinsettias when the soil is dry to the touch, but not too dry. Setting up a regular watering schedule can help to make sure there aren’t periods of over-watering or periods of neglect.
2. Avoid letting water stay on the leaves or flowers because that can lead to rot and other problems. Watering plants at ground level instead of showering from the top can assist in preventing this type of issue from occurring.
3. Add enough water to wet the soil but be careful not to over-water it or let the roots sit in water as this can suffocate the plant and lead to root rot! A good way to avoid this is by ensuring there is adequate drainage in any container your poinsettias are housed in.
3. How Often Should You Fertilize Your Poinsettia?
It is good to know how often you should fertilize plants, especially if they have just recently been purchased. Important: do NOT fertilize Poinsettias during the holidays! Only start feeding the plant when new growth of leaves, bracts or flowers are observed.
The answer to this question depends on the type of plant that you have. For example, poinsettias require more regular fertilizing than most other plants. So, using any fertilizer with a 5-10-5 nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) ratio, like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20, is best for this plant. These indicators are present on the packaging of most fertilizer brands.
4. Where Can You Keep Your Poinsettia?
Temperature requirements for Poinsettias are ideally between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and not below 50. Poinsettias will die if exposed to freezing temperatures.
What type of room will a Poinsettia work best in? A room with an Eastern or Southern facing window is best. Avoid placing them near anything that will assist in drying the plant out. Places to avoid include anywhere there is a cold/warm draft, like heat/air conditioning vents, fans, space heaters or fireplaces.
How do you get your Poinsettia to bloom again? Getting the Poinsettia to put forth the brightly colored bracts again can be a demanding task, but with some determination and a good schedule, it is possible! In general, you want to make sure your Poinsettia gets 4-6 hours of sunlight daily when you get one during the holidays.
After the holidays, prune up any dead, diseased, or wilting parts of the plant. If transplanting outdoors, start it off in indirect sunlight, and then move to direct full sun in the summer.
When to Bring Poinsettias Indoors
Bring the plant back indoors around Labor Day, and make sure to check for any pests or disease. Starting around the Fall equinox (usually around September 21st), give the plant 16 hours of completely uninterrupted darkness, and 8 hours of bright light every day.
Ideally, it’s best to maintain temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and reduce the water and fertilizer to 1/4 of normal. Don’t forget to rotate the plant daily to ensure even growth. At Thanksgiving, stop the short day/long night routine and give the Poinsettia at least 6 hours of direct light each day. At this time the fertilizing can often be stopped, and water reduced to winter rates.
If this process is not followed, the plant does not get the chemical messages it needs to develop the red color in the leaves that surround the tiny flowers of the plant. The red color occurs from a process called photoperiodism which is an organism’s response to seasonal changes in day length.
It can be daunting to think of what to do with a poinsettia plant after the holiday season is over. What I have found most helpful is to take pictures of the plant at different times of day or holidays so you can see how it changes throughout the year. I also like to take note of which days are best for watering and fertilizing.
Why is the Poinsettia So Popular at Christmas?
There is an interesting myth about the Poinsettia from its native Mexico, that tells of a young girl who had nothing to give Jesus on Christmas.
She decided to gather some weeds to present at the church, and when she brought them into the church, the leaves turned red and bloomed into the beautiful Poinsettia we know and love today.
They even have a common name in Mexico, Flores de Noche Buena (Flowers of the Holy Night), and are often used in Christmas celebrations all over the world.
Poinsettias have an interesting requirement in order to bloom. They go through a period where they need complete darkness for a certain amount of time during each day.
This is often accomplished by putting the plant in a closet or other windowless room for a period in order to ensure complete darkness. Shortly after this, the plant starts to develop it’s tell-tale red leaves, called bracts, that are intended to attract pollinators to the tiny flowers in the middle of the red leaves.
This is symbolically important as the Christian faith tells of how Jesus Christ, who’s birth is celebrated at Christmas, was crucified and died on the cross (the darkness), only to rise 3 days later.
His blood shed so that we may have everlasting life being represented by the red color of the plant, as well as it’s need to go through darkness in order to bring forth it’s true beauty is seen by many as an apt representation of Christ’s journey.
The shape of the red leaves surrounding the Poinsettia’s blooms are also similar in shape to the commonly referenced Star of Bethlehem from the Christmas story that led the wise men from the East.
How to Take Care of a Poinsettia Made Easy
The poinsettia is a beautiful plant that can be intimidating for some people. But fear not, this list of things to do to help you take care of your poinsettia can make sure it survives the winter and has a long life.
I want to make sure it’s as easy as possible to take care of a Poinsettia. This way you can enjoy it beyond the Christmas season. I hope this will help you to make the holidays a little brighter, and last all throughout the new year!
Following the tips on caring for your poinsettia is not difficult and it will help make the holidays more enjoyable, and last a little bit longer.
How to Take Care of a Poinsettia Conclusion
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8 thoughts on “How to Take Care of a Poinsettia”
I bought three poinsettia flowers for this Holiday Season and I would like them to last longer than Christmas. In the past I’ve never been successful at keeping them alive for more than a month after Christmas and I’ve always felt bad about it.
With your tips I will hopefully succeed this time! 🙂
I find the dark days method interesting. I’ll defintely do that when it’s time – and if my poinsettias made it until then 😉
They are so nice and festive during this time of year! With these step by step guidelines you should have no problem seeing them bloom next year! It’s a little more labor intensive to get them to bloom again, but worth it! I’d love to see your results! Good Luck!
We get these plants once a year and these poinsettia plants are easy to take care of and do enjoy the read of how t o take care of these seasonal plants.
The poinsettia plants are easy gifts and decoration around the house once a year this is always wanted.
Amazing story behind where they come from to how they got there name.
So glad you enjoyed the post! And I agree that during the holiday season they are a staple in our house for decoration as well!
My mum has the green fingers in our family. She seems to do very well with almost everything she touches. Although keeping the poinsettia’s alive long term has always proved challenging.
I will print this article for her so she can refer to it in the hopes of helping these plants last longer.
Thanks for sharing.
I am glad you found the article useful and informative! I know many a gardener that have struggled with the elusive second year bloom of the Poinsettia. She is in good company! 🙂 Good luck to her and yourself!
Thanks for this nice blog post Randi. I did not know that poinsettia flower comes originally from Mexico. You can see this flower very often during the Christmas also in Europe. Very interesting story behind how the poinsettia got popular mostly during Christmas. Sometimes the most unexpected things can turn to something beautiful. I think you put here really nice guidance for poinsettia lovers -;)Cheers
I love learning interesting stories behind plant-based traditions from all over the world! I am glad you enjoyed the article!