Once you have selected a healthy-looking poinsettia, there are a few steps to follow to make sure it remains that way. First, since poinsettias are tropical plants native to Central America, it is important to keep them in a warm and sunny environment. If the temperature goes below 65 degrees F, leaf drop may occur. Follow the below steps by the floral experts at Zeidler’s Flowers to keep your poinsettia healthy and thriving all year round. We also provided a handy cheat sheet infographic for you on poinsettia care at the end.
Where to Keep Your Poinsettia
Poinsettias thrive in areas that have a lot of light. Southern, western, and eastern-facing windows are best. Water your plant until the soil is moist and stop before it becomes soggy. Make sure its roots are not sitting in standing water because root rot may develop. When the soil feels dry, then re-water.
Once the holidays have ended, the leaves will eventually drop off. In the spring, its stems will be bare but they are still growing. Now is the time to decrease watering so the plant dries out a little. In May, do some pruning and cut down the stems a few inches to ensure a full-looking plant. Spring is when you should begin fertilizing your poinsettia.
Summer Is the Time to Move Your Poinsettia Outside
When the weather starts getting warmer, move your poinsettia outside to an area that has partial shade. Morning light is best for the plant with shade to block out the hot afternoon sun. Under a tree or on the patio are good placement options. Summer is also when you should fertilize using it at half strength. After additional branches have grown, pinch about 1 inch off from each stem. Continue fertilizing at half-strength weekly when the soil is moist.
Check for pests that like to hide on the underside of leaves. If you see any, make a simple and safe homemade insecticide solution of one teaspoon of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and spray on the plant as needed.
When to Move Your Poinsettia Inside
As summer comes to an end and the temperatures drop to below 65 degrees F, then that signals it’s time to bring the poinsettia indoors. This is also the time to coax the deep red bloom of the leaves poinsettias are famous for. In order to do this, your plant requires a minimum of 12 hours of complete uninterrupted darkness. You could do this by placing a cardboard box over the poinsettia at 5 p.m. and take it off at 8 a.m. During the day, return your poinsettia to a sunny spot. You should begin the darkness treatment around October 1st and continue for 8-10 weeks to encourage the plant to bloom in time for the holiday season.
Once your poinsettia has rebloomed, you should stop fertilizing and water as you did last Christmas. Then, at the end of the season, you can start the process all over again. If reblooming a poinsettia seems too daunting for you, then take comfort in the fact that you are supporting your local florist by purchasing your poinsettias each year.