Native to Mexico, poinsettias are plants that thrive during the Christmas season because they are what’s known as “short-day” plants wherein they require long nights for their leaves to change colors. The colorful bracts are actually the leaves and not flowers. The most common color is red, but there are poinsettias with bracts in cream, white, pink, salmon, speckled, and variegated. The experts at Port Charlotte Florist can help you select the best poinsettia and care for it all year round. Just keep reading below and check out our poinsettia care infographic at the bottom.
Choosing Your Poinsettia
The small flower buds are located in the center of the stalk and when selecting a poinsettia, make you look for tightly closed buds with no trace of pollen. Dark green leaves below the bracts, no sign of pests, and no faded leaves are all signs of a healthy poinsettia.
Year-Round Poinsettia Care
Poinsettias are a great way to brighten up your home, and with the proper care, they can continue to do so long after the holidays. Here are tips for year-round care:
Poinsettias thrive in sunny windows that get at least 6 hours of indirect light every day.
Protect the plants from cold temperatures, especially when you are transporting them home. They do best in rooms that do not have any cold drafts and have daytime temps of 65-70 F and nighttime temps of 55 – 65 F.
Water poinsettias only when the soil is dry 1-2 inches down. Water the plant thoroughly and allow all the water to drain out. Poinsettias are susceptible to root rot so do not let them sit in standing water.
Once the colorful leaves start to drop off, reduce watering, and allow the plant to get drier between waterings. This will lull it into its rest period. Keep the plant in a dry, cool (around 60F) place for a time.
When most of the leaves have dropped, prune the stems of the plant to about 5 inches tall. Continue to water as you have been and start fertilizing weekly with a half-strength solution. Around May, the poinsettia will begin to leaf out again.
Once the weather has warmed up at the beginning of summer, you can take the plant outdoors. Put it in a warm, sunny area that gets shade in the afternoon and enjoy it all summer long.
To keep your poinsettia compact and full-looking, cut it back again around mid-July to stimulate branching.
When the weather begins to cool around September, bring your plant back indoors and place it in a sunny window. Water and fertilize as you have been.
Beginning the first week of October, your plant will need 14 hours of complete darkness daily until the end of November. Absolutely no light should be allowed to get to the plant during this period of darkness. Place in a dark closet or put a thick cardboard box over it. During the day, make sure the plant soaks up at least 6 hours of sun.
By the time Christmas rolls around, you will have a fully re-bloomed, gorgeous poinsettia to enjoy for the season. Care for the plant as you did when you first received it and start the process all over again.
If this seems like too much effort, don’t sweat it! Your Port Charlotte local florist appreciates your support each year when you pick up a poinsettia or two from them.