Poinsettias are a sure sign the holidays have arrived. As they line the streets, offices, garden centers, and more, their bright red blooms have become synonymous with good cheer and festiveness. Native to Central America, the botanical name of the poinsettia is “Euphoribia pulchrrima,” which means “very beautiful.” To ensure your beautiful poinsettia remains healthy and thriving to bloom again next year, the experts at Central Square Florist have carefully laid out the steps for you to follow. Also, check out the nifty, cheat-sheet infographic on poinsettia care at the end of this post.
Caring for Your Poinsettia When It’s In Bloom
Since it’s a tropical plant, it’s important to replicate a tropic-like environment for your poinsettia to thrive. Upon purchase, make sure the plant is wrapped up for protection against chilly weather as you transport it home. Then, remove its wrapping and place it in a well-lit area that gets plenty of indirect sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Keep the plant out of the way of cold drafts, and don’t allow its leaves to touch chilly window panes. The ideal daytime temperature should fall between 60 and 70 degrees F and nighttime temps should not go below 55.
Water your poinsettia only when the soil is dry to the touch. Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of its pot as letting the roots sit in water will shorten its lifespan. With proper care, a poinsettia can last well into March or April.
To Keep or Toss Your Poinsettia?
There is no need to toss your Poinsettia once the holiday season is over. If you’d like to try your hand at reblooming your plant for next year’s holidays, then follow the below schedule. To keep it simple, we’ve matched important poinsettia care steps with particular holidays.
New Year’s Day: Continue the regular watering and lighting schedule you’ve been doing. Do not fertilize if the plant is in bloom. When it’s no longer blooming, fertilize at half-strength weekly.
Valentine’s Day: Cut the stems of the plant down to about 5-6 inches. Check for bugs, and if present, eliminate with a safe homemade solution of 1 tablespoon of dish soap to one gallon of water in a spray bottle.
St. Patrick’s Day: Trim dead and faded leaves from plant. Add fresh soil and keep in bright sunny locations.
Memorial Day: Cut off new growth to get stems down to about 5 inches to promote branching. Repot into a larger container.
Father’s Day: The plant can be moved outside to a partially shaded area for the summer.
Fourth of July: Pinch about an inch of new growth off of the stems and continue watering and fertilizing schedule.
Labor Day: Bring plant indoors and place in a location that gets bright sun for at least 6 hours a day.
Autumn Equinox: Beginning around September 21st, place the plant in complete uninterrupted darkness for at least 14 hours. Place in a closet or under a cardboard box to achieve this. During the day, maintain its sunny locale and watering schedule.
Thanksgiving: Stop darkness treatment. Keep poinsettia in a bright, well-lit area, so it receives at least 6 hours of direct light—water when soil is dry and stop fertilizing.
Christmas: Enjoy your newly re-bloomed poinsettia and prepare to start the cycle all over again.
If your plant doesn’t bloom, it’s okay. Re-blooming a poinsettia can take some practice. If you think this is too much work, that’s okay too! Support your local florist by picking up one or more new poinsettias to enjoy this holiday season.