Once the holidays are over, many people don’t think twice about tossing out their poinsettia plant along with the Christmas tree. Others will nurture their plant and try to get them to bloom again season after season. Others, yet, probably weren’t even aware that a poinsettia can be kept year-round and coaxed into reblooming. If you’d like to give your hand at trying to keep your plant this year instead of giving it the big heave-ho, then check out the care tips provided by the floral experts at Casas Flowers to keep your poinsettia thriving all year round. Also, we’ve provided a handy infographic poinsettia care cheat sheet below.
How to Choose a Healthy Poinsettia
First, you should know what to look for when selecting your poinsettia. Choose a plant with crisp, brightly leaves (bracts) that is full and robust. Make sure the buds in the center are tightly closed with no evident pollen. Don’t choose a plant that’s near automatic doors where it’s been exposed to cold drafts. When you’ve finally selected the best poinsettia, wrap it carefully to protect it from bitter cold as your transport home.
Place your poinsettia in an area with plenty of bright natural light. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch. If there is foil around the pot, remove or poke holes in it so water can drain adequately. Do not allow your plant to sit in standing water.
Poinsettia Care Calendar
A great way to remember when important steps in the care of your poinsettia are needed is to align them with holidays throughout the year.
New Year’s Day – Continue to water and keep in a sunny window for at least 6 hours a day and in temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F.
Valentine’s Day – If your plant has become leggy, cut back the stem to between 4 and 6 inches tall.
St. Patrick’s Day – The leaves have probably faded by now. Remove them and any dried parts of the plant. Water as usual and add fresh soil if needed.
Memorial Day – Pinch off 2-3 inches of the stems to promote branching. Repot to a slightly larger container, one size up, and add all new fresh soil.
Father’s Day – Your poinsettia can now be moved outside. Place in a bright, warm area that is mostly shaded in the afternoon.
Fourth of July – Trim the plant again and continue to water and slightly increase the amount of fertilizer to encourage growth.
Labor Day – Move back inside when the weather begins to get cool. Place in a sunny area and reduce the amount of fertilizer.
Autumnal Equinox – Starting around September 21, place your poinsettia in a dark room where no sunlight can get through for a minimum of 14 hours daily. Placing a cardboard box over the plant works well also. During the day, allow the plant to get plenty of sun and rotate the plant so all sides get even light. Continue watering and fertilizing.
Thanksgiving – Stop the dark treatment. Place the poinsettia in a sunny area that gets plenty of light. Resume normal watering and stop fertilizing.
Christmas – Enjoy your newly re-bloomed poinsettia, then, start the cycle all over again.
Don’t get discouraged if your poinsettia didn’t rebloom. It’s difficult to coax them into reblooming and some plants just won’t. Buck up and give it another try! Or, if this whole process seems a bit overwhelming, then don’t feel guilty about tossing your poinsettia once the holidays are over. Just support your local Tuscon florist each year by buying a new one!