POINSETTIA CARE TIPS
With their bright red leaves and association with the Christmas season, poinsettia plants end up in most people’s homes during the holidays. To keep this festive Christmas houseplant thriving for as long as possible, and even have around for next Christmas, follow the below tips for caring and extending the lifespan of your poinsettia.
• DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.
• DO provide room temperatures between 68 - 70° F. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia.
• DO water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.
• DO fertilize your plant AFTER THE BLOOMING SEASON with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.
• DON'T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Avoid placing plants near appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.
• DON'T expose plants to temperatures below 50° F. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so avoid placing them outside during the winter months.
• DON'T over water your plant, or allow it to sit in standing water.
To get your poinsettia to bloom again, from October 01st- December 01st, give you plant at least 13-16 hours of complete darkness and 8 hours of light. Placing a large cardboard box over your poinsettia is a smart way to bring your blooms out.
TIPS TO RE-BLOOM YOUR POINSETTIA
When the poinsettia's bracts age and lose their aesthetic appeal, there's no reason to throw it out. With proper care, dedication and a certain amount of luck, you too can re-bloom your poinsettia!
By late March or early April, cut your poinsettia back to about 8" in height. Continue a regular watering program, and fertilize your plant with a good, balanced all-purpose fertilizer. By the end of May, you should see vigorous new growth.
Place your plants outdoors, where they can bask in the warmth of spring and summer, after all chance of frost has passed and night temperatures average 55° F or above. Continue regular watering during the growth period, and fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks.
Pruning may be required during the summer to keep plants bushy and compact. Late June or early July is a good time for this step, but be sure not to prune your plant later than September 1. Keep the plants in indirect sun and water regularly.
Around June 1, you may transplant your poinsettia into a larger pot. Select a pot no more than 4 inches larger than the original pot. A soil mix with a considerable amount of organic matter, such as peat moss or leaf mold, is highly recommended.
The poinsettia is a photoperiodic plant, meaning that it sets bud and produces flowers as the Autumn nights lengthen. Poinsettias will naturally come into bloom during November or December, depending on the flowering response time of the individual cultivar. Timing to produce blooms for the Christmas holiday can be difficult outside of the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Stray light of any kind, such as from a street light or household lamps, could delay or entirely halt the re-flowering process.
Starting October 1, the plants must be kept in complete darkness for 14 continuous hours each night. Accomplish this by moving the plants to a totally dark room, or by covering them overnight with a large box. During October, November and early December, poinsettias require 6 - 8 hours of bright sunlight daily, with night temperatures between 60 - 70° F. Temperatures outside of this range could also delay flowering.
Continue the normal watering and fertilizer program. Carefully following this regime for 8 to 10 weeks should result in a colorful display of blooms for the holiday season!
To read more information about poinsettias visit our "History and Legend of the Poinsettia" page.