Caring For and Looking After a Poinsettia Plant
Popping up in all supermarkets and garden centres across the country, poinsettias are an iconic part of Christmas and add a festive finish to any home. Perhaps almost as iconic as the Christmas tree.
Keeping a Poinsettia alive and thriving long enough to see Christmas Day can prove a challenge. But, looking after a Poinsettia is really not so hard. We promise!
Stay tuned as we’ve put together a guide and best practices on how to care for a Poinsettia.
Top Tips on How to Look After a Poinsettia
Poinsettias, which are sometimes referred to as a ‘Mexican flame flower’ or ‘Christmas Star’, are indigenous to Mexico.
The beautiful deep red star-shaped leaves are hard to miss so it’s easy to see why the nation has fallen in love with this plant.
Red Poinsettias are the most popular, however white, cream, pink, speckled and bi-colour varieties are growing in popularity each year.
And, in total, professional Poinsettia breeders have created over 150 different varieties.
|Fun Fact: According to Wikipedia, the plant derives its English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett who introduced the plant to the USA in the 1820s.|
So, let’s find out how to grow, look after and even select the perfect Poinsettia for your home.
How to Grow a Poinsettia
If you’ve got green fingers and wanted to have a go at growing your own Poinsettia, make sure you plant the seeds after there is no chance of any frost.
When you begin to see green shoots sprouting, ensure you water them regularly and fertilise the soil. But, remember that they do not like a lot of water.
Over watering can lead to water-logging, and will essentially kill your plant.
Also, prune your Poinsettia regularly so your plant does not get too tall or sparse.
|Top Tip: Don’t forget to feed your Poinsettia! We highly recommend this Houseplant Concentrated Formula from Growth Technology Ltd.|
Caring For Your Poinsettia After Christmas
Poinsettias are often disposed of once their bracts begin to wilt and discolour.
But, it is possible for your Poinsettia to re-bloom with proper care, and this cycle can be repeated every year. All it takes is a little care and attention.
To keep your Poinsettia in good health for next Christmas, limit the watering so your plant is dormant until Spring.
Then, follow our calendar for the best results:
April: Prune the Poinsettia to around 10cm and keep it at a temperature of around 13℃. This is when fertilising and watering can resume.
May: Re-pot, and keep the plant in its optimum temperature of 15-20℃.
November: To encourage the red leaves, it will require to have 12 hours of bright daylight, followed by 12 hours of darkness. This will help your Poinsettia get ready for the shorter days over the winter months.
Selecting and Buying a Poinsettia
If you buy a plant which has not been looked after previously, then there is a chance that the plant may not last when you bring it home.
Before you buy a Poinsettia, there are a few things you should look out for. Follow our guide and find the perfect Poinsettia.
Firstly, check the soil and feel if it has been properly cared for. The soil should not be dry, but it should not be drenched either.
Check the leaves of the Poinsettia, or the bracts, which should also be intact and looking in good health.
Another way to check the quality of a Poinsettia is by looking at the buds in the middle of the plant. If the buds still look tight, then this is a sign of a healthy flower.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect Poinsettia, make sure you protect the plant when you leave the supermarket or garden centre.
The dramatic change in temperature is not good for Poinsettias, so wrap up your plant for the journey home.
|Top Tip: Poinsettias from a display outside or close to an automatic door can be damaged by the cold weather and will start to wilt as soon once you get them home. Pick up your poinsettia from a reputable supplier or indoor display.|
Your Checklist to Buying a Poinsettia:
✔ Check the soil
✔ Inspect the leaves
✔ Buds are tight
✔ Away from door/draft
✔ Wrap up your plant
How to Look After a Poinsettia
Once you’ve selected a good quality Poinsettia, it’s time to ensure you look after the plant properly to keep it thriving over the Christmas period.
Poinsettia originated in Mexico and, therefore, is used to being in the light and kept warm. They should also be kept away from drafts and watered sparingly.
|Top Tip: Poinsettias don’t need a lot of water. To water your plant just right, check the soil. It shouldn’t be dry, nor drenched. A small sip of water every two days if perfect, or mist your plant daily.|
Keep your plant happy in natural daylight in places such as a windowsill, as long as the window stays shut, and the plant will not get too hot.
The optimum temperature for a Poinsettia is 15-20℃. Anything below 12℃ is not sufficient and will cause damage.
To keep your poinsettia at its best, regularly check and inspect the leaves’ colour to see if you’re watering correctly.
Improper watering can lead to the leaves turning yellowish, or they may begin to fall off. Remember that Poinsettias don’t need as much water as you may think.
Determining the water needs of your plant can be done with your finger.
- Water sparingly (check the soil and leaves for health)
- Keep your plant in natural daylight
- Keep your plant warm (15-20℃)
- Keep away from any drafts or change in temperature
- Inspect the leaves to check the health
Displaying Your Poinsettia
Using our tips above, your Poinsettia plant should be displayed in a light, warm place.
However, there are different ways you can decorate your home with your Poinsettia. Poinsettia leaves are so cheery, beautiful and versatile for adding a festive and elegant finish to all your Christmas decorations.
Try adding Poinsettia leaves to a garland, as centrepieces, within your Christmas wreath and on your Christmas tree. There are so many ways you can get creative with Poinsettia over the festive season.
If you’re not so good at growing plants or keeping them alive for that matter, then don’t rule out artificial Poinsettia plants. No need to remember to water them and they’ll look just as good this year as they did last year!
You can find artificial Poinsettia in many retail shops in the run up to the big day as you turn you home into a winter wonderland.
Our Final Thoughts on How to Look After a Poinsettia
Once you know how to, it’s fairly easy to know how to look after a Poinsettia and keep it flourishing. And, this beautiful plant is worth caring for and having around your home during the holidays, or even all year round.
Just remember the best practices and top tips to check the health and quality of a Poinsettia.
Soon, you’ll be the one handing out tips to your clueless loved ones during the festive season.
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- The Best Artificial Christmas Trees 2020