Melinda's Gardening How-To: Poinsettia Care

Poinsetttia Care

Dress up your home or share the spirit of the holidays.

 

You’ll find Poinsettias, a holiday favorite, in a wide range of colors and sizes... sure to fit any home décor.  And with proper care and placement, you can keep them looking their best throughout the holidays and well past the New Year.

What You Need

  • Poinsettias to enjoy in your home. Use them:
  • As a centerpiece, on your mantel or table top or as party favors
  • Give as a gift to:
  • Teachers, Hostesses, Service providers and of course family and friends
  • Decorative foil, basket, container or decorations for an added festive touch

 

  • Transport with Care 
  • Pasquesi will carefully wrap your poinsettia to protect it on the cold ride home
  • Remove the protective wrap as soon as you arrive home
  • The upward bent leaves release ethylene that shortens the bloom time and decreases the beauty of your plant
    • Rewrap your plant whenever transporting it from one location to another
    • Never leave this or any plant sitting in a cold car while you run errands

 

  • Care throughout the Holiday 
  • Place the plant in a cool, brightly lit location. The cool temperatures and indirect light help the blooms last longer.
  • Fold down the foil wrap, if present, to let the sunlight reach all the leaves
  • Avoid drafts of hot and cold air. These can dry or chill the plant and shorten bloom time and increase leaf drop.
  • Keep the soil moist, like a damp sponge, but not wet. Water thoroughly when the top few inches of soil just start to dry.
  • Pour out any water that collects in the foil, basket, or saucer. Or place pebbles in the bottom of the container or saucer to elevate the plant above the water.
  • Remove the true flowers (small yellow knobby structures) so the plant can spend all its energy maintaining the plant and colorful bracts (leaves) we call flowers.
  • If yellow leaves develop
    • Check soil moisture and adjust watering as needed
    • Move your plant to a brighter location if you suspect it’s a lack of light
    • Make sure the plant is out of cold drafts & set back from cold windows

 

Post Holiday Care

  • Move your plant to a sunny location once the holidays have passed
  • Fertilize with a dilute solution of flowering plant fertilizer
  • Water thoroughly as the top inch of soil begins to dry
  • Grow your poinsettia like other houseplants if you want to continue to enjoy it throughout the coming year

 

Spring and Summer Care

  • Many of the new poinsettia varieties maintain their colorful bracts throughout the spring
  • Prune your plant back to 6 inches to encourage fuller more compact growth if you want to continue growing it through the summer
    • Grow in a sunny window indoors
    • Or move it outdoors for the summer
      • Wait for the danger of frost to pass
      • Gradually introduce your plant to its new home outdoors
      • Place it in a full to partial sun location
      • Check the soil moisture daily and water thoroughly when the top inch of soil begins to dry.
  • Fertilize actively growing plants, indoors or out, with a dilute solution of flowering plant fertilizer. Follow label directions for frequency.

Reblooming

  • Move your plant indoors, if needed, as temperatures fall into the low 50’s
  • Isolate your poinsettias that summered outdoors, monitor for pests and manage problem insects as needed
  • Start the reblooming process on October 1st
    • Cover your plant or move it to a totally dark location for 14 hours each night
      • Each night treatment missed delays flowering by one day
      • Slightly cooler night temperatures increase flowering success
    • Move your poinsettia back into bright light during the day
    • Allow the soil to go a bit drier during this time
    • Stop the dark treatment once the bracts are fully colored

Don’t worry if your plant fails to color up for the holidays – you are in the majority. Just add some silk blooms or other holiday decorations to dress up your leafy green poinsettia.

  

Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Gardening How-To with you!