Caring for Your Poinsettias
Poinsettias are a signature staple of the Christmas season. With their vivid and vibrant foliage, they’re a welcome addition to any home. With the right care, they can last well past Christmas, and with a little more work, you can get them to color up and flower again for next Christmas. Here are a few tips to keeping your poinsettias alive and healthy:
- Poinsettias prefer bright light, so placing them in a sunny, south-facing windowsill or giving them bright light will be ideal. Keep in mind, however, that poinsettias loathe the cold, so if you put them in a sunny windowsill, be sure to keep them away from the windowpane.
- Poinsettias need to be watered regularly. When watering, let all of the water drain completely out of the bottom of the pot. Or, if you have a saucer beneath your poinsettia, dump out the excess water. Poinsettias hate wet feet.
Getting Poinsettias to Bloom Again
Forcing a poinsettia to bloom again is takes some work, but it can be done. Continue watering the plant until about mid-spring. Place in a warm, sunny location. At the end of spring, cut the plant back to shape; new growth will come from pinched stems. Water it well and keep it warm, and feed it with houseplant fertilizer when new growth begins to appear.
During the summer, the poinsettia can be placed outside in a partly shady location and maintain your feeding and watering schedule. In early July, pinch each stem back by about one inch. This will encourage the plant to fill out; plants left unpinched will grow tall and leggy. By mid-August, the plant should be leafed out by now. Bring it indoors and place in the brightest window you have. Continue the watering and feeding schedule.
By October, the poinsettia needs a 14-hour period of total darkness – even nightlights can ruin the process. The best place is a room with available sunlight and no lights after sunset until sunrise. Around the last week of November, you should see color starting. Stop fertilizing around the middle of December, but continue watering it like normal.