Poinsettias have come a long way in the past forty years. Early varieties were fragile and short-lived, with a tendency to drop all their green leaves and red bracts just a few days after Christmas. But, thanks to extensive poinsettia research and breeding work, the poinsettia cultivars of today have stronger stems, larger bracts, better longevity and a wider range of colors. To keep your holiday poinsettias alive, follow these basic care tips:
Best Light and Temperature for Poinsettias in Pots
Poinsettia plants thrive on bright, natural daylight. We recommend at least six hours of sunlight daily. Placement near a sunny window is ideal but be careful of locations where the hot afternoon sun shines directly on the colorful bracts. In this situation, pull a light shade or sheer curtain to diffuse the light for an hour or so to avoid fading the color from the bracts.
Temperatures should not exceed 70°F/21°C during the day or fall below 65°F/18°C at night. Avoid placing the plants near drafts, as well as excess heat and dry air from appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.
Watering and Fertilizing Indoor Poinsettias
Poinsettias do best with a moist soil condition – not too wet and not too dry. Water the poinsettia thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to a light touch. The best sign of a thorough watering is when water begins to seep out the pot’s drainage holes. If your plant is set in a decorative sleeve or cache pot, be sure to pour off any excess water. Poinsettias left sitting in water may suffer from permanent root-rot damage.
It is not necessary to feed your poinsettias when they are in bloom during the holiday season. If you want to keep your plant beyond the holidays, apply a balanced, all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. This will help maintain the rich, green leaf color and encourage new growth. Follow the directions on the fertilizer label.
A lot of people enjoy the challenge of getting a poinsettia to rebloom each year. If you’re interested in learning how, we’ve got tips for How to Get Your Poinsettia to Rebloom.