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Is there any plant that just says Christmas more than the poinsettia? Yet they have a reputation for being hard to grow but really they aren’t with these tips for how to care for poinsettias year round.
How To Care For Poinsettias Year Round With These Easy Tips
Plant breeding has given us many different colours of poinsettias to choose from. Poinsettias come in salmon, cream, pink, white and of course red that is the most popular colour.
What is fascinating about the poinsettia is that what we call flowers really are not the flower of the poinsettia plant. The flower itself is very small and really nothing special. It’s the beautifully coloured leaves called bracts that give the poinsettia it’s stunning look.
These bracts are produced by the plant before the flowers open and will last for quite a while.[clickToTweet tweet=”#Poinsettias need a bright place out of direct sunlight, no drafts & careful watering #gardening” quote=”To thrive poinsettias need a bright place out of direct sunlight, no drafts and careful watering.”]
Poinsettia Care Instructions
Where to keep your poinsettia plants
One of the most important things to consider when bringing your poinsettia plant home is where you are going to keep it.
Poinsettias need a bright location out of direct sunlight. It needs to be protected from drafts and about 65 Degrees F ( 18 C). Poinsettias just can’t handle direct sunlight especially from near windows it will burn their leaves.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with poinsettia plants is overwatering them! This one reason alone is why you are probably killing your poinsettias every year.
I find that the best way to water poinsettias is from the bottom. Set the pots into a basin of water with a few inches of water in it. Let your plant sit in the basin for 1 to 2 hours until the soil is evenly moist but not soggy.
Then remove the pots and set them back on their plant pot trays. Don’t let your poinsettias stay consistently wet any water that drains into the trays should be discarded.
Water your plants every 3 to 5 days depending on how humid or dry your home is. You want the soil to be moist to the touch but not soggy wet it’s ok to let it dry out a little between waterings.
If the leaves start to curl on the edges water the poinsettia right away.
Once the bracts have fallen off you can either discard the plant or keep caring for it to enjoy next year too! If you’re going to keep it through the year move the poinsettia to a cool, dark area and slowly decrease your regular watering schedule to allow the plant to dry out a little.
When your poinsettias are in bloom don’t give it any fertilizer. You should wait until after the blooming period to start fertilizing you plant. Use a multi purpose houseplant fertilizer and apply it every two weeks to once a month.
Poinsettia Care After Christmas
In the spring bring the plant back to a bright area but remember to keep it out of direct sunlight and water it well. Cut back all the branches to about 6 inches in length.
When the new growth reaches 6 to 10 inches start pinching out the tips to encourage more branches to grow. Do this monthly until late summer.
Starting in September light becomes an important part of poinsettia care. To encourage blooming, poinsettia plants need long periods of darkness at night. Move your poinsettia plant to a location where it will get at least 12 hours of darkness at night. If needed you can place a cardboard box over it!
Make sure your plant still gets ample light during the day and if possible keep the daytime temperature between 65-70 F (18-21 C) and the nights 55-60 F (13-16 C).
These dark hours and temperatures will encourage your poinsettia to bloom.
Are Poinsettias Poisonous?
Poinsettia plants are not as poisonous as once thought but the milky sap from their leaves can cause skin irritation. If it gets on your hands wash them right away. Eating a part of the poinsettia may cause a stomachache more information about poinsettia toxicity can be read here.
Why Are My Poinsettias Leaves Falling Off?
Poinsettias are really easy to grow, but they are sensitive plants. If conditions aren’t just right they will start to drop their leaves.
Most of the time leaf drop is an easy fix. Keep your plant in a bright, draft-free place out of direct sunlight and make sure the soil is kept moist during the blooming season but not soggy.
This should be enough to help your poinsettia recover but if not you can replace the plant easily during the Christmas season.
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.