Poinsettia plants are a staple in the Christmas holidays and look beautiful in any home or office decorations. With a variety of colors to choose from, there is a color to fit into any decoration color scheme. Taking care of the poinsettia plant you get is important to prolonging the life of your holiday plant. Here are a few tips on how to care for poinsettias that you may get.
Plenty of sunlight
Poinsettia plants need a lot of sunlight to prolong their life. Make sure they are placed in front of a south facing window for optimal sunlight or in as high a light location as possible, but ensure they are not pressed up against a cold window. The best temperature to keep them at is 68 degrees during the day and then slightly cooler at night. This will help them stay alive longer than just the Christmas season.
Your poinsettia plant should be watered regularly and the soil should be kept evenly moist. If the soil starts to feel dry, it's time to re-water it. Don't let the plant sit in a surplus of water, so once you're done watering it, empty out the tray underneath it. If you do this, your plant should last well into the new year.
Prolonging their life past Christmas
Follow these tips after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, or when the plant starts to look a little tired (whichever comes first):
Water less (about once a week) after the blooms and leaves drop or shrivel. The plant needs this rest period after its blooming season.
Cut back the stems to half their size in March or April. When new growth begins to appear, it is safe to resume a more normal watering and feeding schedule. Use regular houseplant food and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Move the plant outdoors when the outside nighttime temperatures rise above 55F. Provide light, but avoid placing it in direct sunlight.
Plant the poinsettia in the ground or leave it in the pot if you wish. Repotting may be necessary at the end of summer after the plant has grown. If the poinsettia is planted in the ground, you can expect a shrub-like plant during the summer. Pinch back new growth in June, July or August to promote a bushier plant.
Here is the tricky part, getting your poinsettia to bloom again. When fall temperatures begin to drop, bring the plant indoors. From October 1 to December 1, (or for at least 40 days) a poinsettia will need a strict light / dark regimen to produce color. Provide 13 to 16 hours of complete and uninterrupted darkness daily. At dusk, place the plant in a dark room (or closet) or cover with a box or paper bag. At dawn, move or uncover the plant to allow 8 hours of sunlight.
This is a pretty labor-intensive process, but with a little effort, you will have a healthy, colorful plant for the holidays. Here at Jolly Lane Greenhouse, we have many varieties of poinsettias and numerous colors including red, white, pink, and many varying shades within. Stop out and get the color of your choice and if you have any questions about how to care for poinsettias, we'd be happy to answer your questions.