Poinsettias are bright, cheerful plants that are a staple around the holidays. Here at VanderSalm’s Flowershop, we love this beautiful red plant and have tips for keeping them looking their best during the holiday season and beyond. Plus, we provided you with a handy poinsettia care cheat sheet infographic at the end of this post.
Picking the Perfect Poinsettia
Poinsettias available today not only last longer than they did a few years ago, but they also now come in various colors, such as white, cream, pink, and salmon. When choosing a poinsettia, search for healthy green leaves avoiding those with leaves that are brown, curled, or about to fall off. Also, check that the tiny flowers in the center of the plant to make sure they are still closed with no evidence of pollen.
View the poinsettia from all angles looking for a full, round shape. Also, check the underneath of leaves for any tiny pests that have set up home. When you have chosen a poinsettia, carefully get it home. Poinsettias are native to a tropical climate, so if it is colder than 50 degrees F outside, wrap it up for protection.
Keep Your Poinsettia Thriving
Poinsettias do best in bright indirect light in an area free of cold drafts. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch and until the soil is moist but not soggy. Keep the temperature between 60 and 70 degrees F, and be sure the plant’s leaves do not touch the windowpane as the coldness could damage it.
When the holidays are over, the leaves will begin to fade and fall off. Cut the stems back a few inches and keep the poinsettia in a sunny place. Once the night temperature no longer dips below 50 degrees F, it can be moved outside into a shaded area.
When new growth appears, prune the stems to about 6 inches in height. In June, move the poinsettia into a slighter larger pot with fresh soil and begin fertilizing monthly.
Towards the middle of August, start pinching new growth off of each stem to encourage branching for a fuller look. When summer ends and the weather is cooler, bring your poinsettia back inside and give it 12-15 hours of uninterrupted darkness every day. This will encourage the plant to rebloom. A good way to keep light from your plant is to place a box over it or keep it in a dark closet. During the day, your plant will still need plenty of bright sunlight for at least 6 hours.
If everything has gone as planned, by mid-November, you should see color developing. Once the bracts have become completely red, you can stop giving them the dark treatment and care for them as you did during the holiday season.
Don’t be discouraged if your poinsettia did not rebloom – just try again next year. In the meantime, pick up a lush, vibrant poinsettia from your local florist.