Poinsettias, with their bright red bracts (leaves), make them one of the most popular holiday plants. The beauty of poinsettias can last from Thanksgiving to Christmas and even until Valentine’s Day. But they aren’t just for the holidays. Did you know poinsettias can be kept as a houseplant for years and will rebloom each year when given the proper care?
Here are a few tips on how to care for your poinsettia year around:
In-Bloom – December
Place the poinsettia in a sunny window where there is plenty of bright, indirect, light for at least 6 hours a day. Make sure it is not exposed to cold drafts or any of the leaves touch a cold window as they will die. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and water only when the soil is dry to the touch.
Dormant – January-March
Once the leaves begin to fade or turn yellow, and your poinsettia is no longer looking as dapper as when you first got it, gradually reduce the watering and allow the plant to become drier. This is how you will coax it into its rest period. The leaves will start to fall off and once all the leaves are gone, store the plant in a dry, dark, and cool area (around 50-60 F). Perhaps a closet or basement! Continue to water it but keep the plant on the dry side.
Regrowth – April-September
In the spring, remove the poinsettia from storage and trim the main stems to about 5 inches from above the soil. Repot the plant with fresh soil and water it until the soil is well soaked. Place your poinsettia in a warm, sunny window with temperatures between 65-70 F. When the plant appears to be actively growing, start fertilizing monthly with a diluted solution at half-strength.
Once temperatures stay above 55 degrees at night, you can move your poinsettia outdoors to a lightly shaded area. Maintain regular fertilizing and watering when the soil feels dry. You may also pinch the tips of new stems to obtain a bushy plant.
Reblooming – October-December
When fall arrives and temperatures begin to drop at night, move the plant back inside and place in a window that gets full sun. Keep the plant away from drafts, low temperatures, and soggy soil. Idea night temperatures are 60-65 F and daytime temperatures up to 75 F.
Known as a true short-day plant, the poinsettia must be in total darkness for a minimum of 14 hours every day in order to form flower buds. In early October, keep the plant in a sunny window during the day and complete, uninterrupted darkness at night for the next 4-6 weeks. Continue watering and fertilizing until mid-December.
Your reward? A beautifully rebloomed poinsettia! Give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work and dedication.
This article is sponsored by McNamara at Sand Point, which has two acres of production greenhouses, retail florist and gift shop, as well as retail garden center and wholesale plant business. Contact McNamara by calling 260-747-4131 or visit 4322 DeForest Ave, Ft. Wayne, IN 46809.