A holiday favorite in America, it’s hard to be out and about in December without seeing numerous poinsettia plants with their striking red blooms. Native to Central America, poinsettias bloom in time for the holiday season but actually hate the cold as their native environment is tropical. But, with a little care, you can keep your poinsettia thriving throughout the holiday season and even rebloom for next season if you desire. The experts here at Palm Beach Garden’s best florist, Flower Kingdom, lay it out for your below. We also created a helpful infographic on poinsettia care at the end of this post.
Basic Poinsettia Care Tips
Temperature: In order to replicate the poinsettias native locale, it’s important to keep your indoor temperature between 65 and 70 degrees F during the day and no lower than 55 F at night. Make sure the plant is not in an area prone to cold drafts or too close to a window where its leaves might become damaged if they are up against a chilly window pane.
Light: Poinsettias prefer natural, bright light so placing it in an Eastern or Southern-facing window is ideal.
Water: Give your poinsettia water only when the top layer of soil is dry to the touch. One method of watering is to place the entire pot in the sink and thoroughly soak it. Then, let it sit and drain completely which could take up to an hour. Just be sure the roots are not sitting in water or it could lead to root rot.
If wilting or dropped leaves occur, your poinsettia may be getting too much direct light and not enough humidity. To remedy this situation, water the plant with room-temperature water until the soil becomes moist. Check to make sure the soil stays moist for several hours. Once the plant re-hydrates, it should spring back to health with new leaves appearing over time.
It is possible to coax a poinsettia to rebloom in time for the holidays next year with a little patience and commitment. Just maintain the poinsettia’s watering and sunlight schedule until early April when you’ll want to reduce waterings and allow the plant to dry out a bit which will lull it into dormancy. Keep it in a cool location (around 60 F). In May, cut the stems down to around 5 inches in height and repot into a larger container with fresh potting soil. You can also start fertilizing at half-strength weekly. Continue watering when soil is dry to the touch.
In June, move your poinsettia outside to a location with partial afternoon shade as morning light is best. As growth appears, pinch off about an inch to encourage side branching. When the weather cools off again, it’s time to bring your poinsettia back inside.
On Oct. 1st, your poinsettia will require 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness for the next 8-10 weeks. Keep in a sunny place during the day and move to a dark closet or place a box on it during the long night. This will encourage the plant to begin reblooming. By the end of November, you should have beautiful, lush, and bright red “new” poinsettia just in time for the holidays.
If this task seems a bit daunting, no worries! You can always support your local florist and greenhouse by purchasing a new poinsettia (or two) each year. For more tips or to answer any questions about poinsettias, contact us anytime.