Poinsettias have become a holiday season tradition. These plants are native to Mexico and bloom during the winter. They display leaves ranging from bright red to a cream color. Most people believe the poinsettia naturally dies after the winter season; in fact, the poinsettia can survive for several years in your home with proper care. Generally, poinsettias sell only for a few weeks during the holidays, so don’t miss out on bringing one home.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Place your poinsettia plant in a location that will receive partial sunlight. Too much heat from direct sunlight may shorten the life of your poinsettia. According to Ray Rothenberger and David Trinklein of the Department of Horticulture at the University of Missouri Extension, the ideal environment for poinsettias is a room temperate of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For a long life expectancy, keep this temperature consistent on a daily basis.
Water your poinsettia regularly. Keep the soil damp, but not soggy. Don’t over water your plant because this can cause root rot. The pot should be well drained. A poinsettiasstart to wilt when it doesn’t receive enough water. If this is the case, increase the amount of water at your next scheduled watering times. Check frequently that the soil hasn’t become too dry and hard for the poinsettia.
Trim back the growth of your poinsettia in March or mid April, leaving 5 inches from the main stem. Continue to trim away new growth through the summer until August. After late August, let the poinsettia grow in your home. This is the ideal time to use insecticides and fertilize your plant.
Move your poinsettia to a very dark area of your home in October. Like some other plants, poinsettias need rest to produce new buds. Cover the plant with dark plastic for at least 12 hours a day if you don’t have a dark room for plants. Placing the plant in a large box where it can’t come into contact with sunlight can produce the same results. The plant will look bare and hopeless, but this process is necessary for regrowth. The poinsettia only needs enough water to keep the soil moist during its sleeping time. Remember to move the plant back to a sunny window during the other 12 hours of the day.
Stop the darkness treatment in the last week of November. Display your flowering poinsettia in your home in December and throughout the holiday season.
Follow the instructions listed when using insecticides. Failing to do so could cause serious health problems