Caring for Your Poinsettia
The holiday season brings to mind many traditions, customs, and festivities, but perhaps one of the most common is the buying and giving of poinsettias. How long your poinsettia lasts for depends on the maturity of the plant, when you buy it, and how well you care for it. To keep your poinsettia looking its best throughout the holiday season, follow these simple tips-
After selecting and purchasing your poinsettia ensure it is well wrapped to insulate it during the ride home. Exposure to extreme temperatures even for a few minutes can cause leaves and bracts to drop prematurely. Never purchase your poinsettias and leave them in the car while you do other shopping!
Place your poinsettia in a bright, naturally sunny location. Six hours of sunlight a day is ideal.
Poinsettias do not like fluctuations in temperature. Ideally temperatures should be 21 degrees Celsius during the day and 17 degrees Celsius at night. Do not place your plant near radiators or stoves. Also, placing on a windowsill can cause damage to leaves and bracts that touch the cold window.
Poinsettias like to be kept moist, but not wet. Check the soil everyday to see if it needs water. If it feels dry to a light touch, water just until water starts to come out the drainage holes in the bottom. If your plant has a decorative wrapping, be sure to remove the plant from it before watering or to punch a few holes in it to allow the water to drain.
It is not necessary to fertilize your poinsettia throughout the holiday season while it is in bloom. If you are planning to keep your poinsettia after the holidays, you may fertilize once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
After the Holidays
Some people want know how to keep their poinsettia for next year. Although this can be done, it requires a lot of effort. You need to cut-back the poinsettia and keep it in extremely controlled lighting for it to have any chance to re-bloom. Considering the time and labour involved, it is just more practical to buy a new plant each year.