A beautiful and cheerful plant that is synonymous with the holiday season, poinsettias are seen everywhere at Christmas time. After New Year’s, though, many of them get tossed in the trash because they look dead or dying. But, it’s possible to keep your poinsettia healthy and thriving all year long and maybe possibly rebloom for next season.
Coaxing a poinsettia to bloom again does take some effort and there are no guarantees, but it’s certainly worth a shot, right?! Follow the below guide from the floral experts at Boyd’s Flowers to start.
How to Choose a Healthy Poinsettia
The first step in keeping your poinsettia healthy all year is to select a healthy one from the get-go. When shopping for a poinsettia, take note of these signs of a healthy plant:
- An overall lush and robust appearance with no faded or dying leaves.
- The small flowers in the center should be closed with no trace of pollen.
- Do not select a plant that is kept near automatic doors as the bursts of cold air will damage the plant.
- Check the soil- it should feel moist, not soggy or overly dry.
- Look beneath the leaves for insects, eggs, or other evidence of pests. You do not want to bring those into your home!
- When you have found the perfect poinsettia, keep it warm and protected on its way home.
Basic Poinsettia Care
- Poinsettias like bright natural light, so find a sunny spot that gets receives at least six hours of indirect sunlight.
- Keep the plant away from cold drafts and heat from appliances. Also, make sure the leaves are not in contact with a cold windowpane.
- Water your poinsettia when the top soil feels dry. Allow the water to thoroughly drain out of the pot, and prevent the plant from sitting in standing water.
Caring for Your Poinsettia Year-Round
Jan – Mar: Your plant should receive a minimum of 6 hours of indirect light. Water when soil becomes dry. Leaves may fade and drop – this is normal.
April: New growth should start to appear. Now is the time to begin using fertilizer.
May: Repot to a container one size up with fresh potting soil. Prune the stems until they are roughly 5 inches tall.
Jun – Aug: When the outside temperature remains above 55 F, move the poinsettia outdoors into a partially shaded area. Continue to water and fertilize as you have been. Pinch off new growth to encourage side branching.
Sep: Typically the weather starts to cool so it’s time to bring your poinsettia back indoors. Remove dead parts and check for pests. Return it to a sunny, draft-free window.
Oct – Nov: This is an important time when the poinsettia, under the right conditions, will rebloom. On Oct 1st, your plant requires 13-15 hours of complete darkness each night. You can achieve this by placing a sturdy box over it or putting it in a dark closet. During the day, keep the plant in a sunny location and continue fertilizing and watering. Towards the 8-week mark of the darkness treatment, check the leaves for changing color. Keep the darkness treatment going if needed until your poinsettia has fully transformed.
If all goes well you will have a gorgeous red-leafed poinsettia to enjoy for another holiday season. There are no guarantees, though, as it can be difficult to coax a bloom as some plants just won’t. If the process seems a bit daunting, that’s ok. You can always support your local Wilmington florist by picking up a new poinsettia each year.