Along with the holidays also comes a plethora of poinsettias seen in shops, businesses, churches, homes, almost everywhere. In fact, this winter-time plant has become synonymous with the holiday season. Keeping your poinsettia thriving and robust during this time is relatively easy. And once their colorful leaves begin to fall, you don’t have to toss it. You may be surprised to discover that you can keep your poinsettia as a houseplant all year round and even get it to rebloom for next season. It does take some effort, though, but follow the below steps provided by the experts at Rose Bud Flowers and give it shot! Also, for your convenience, we provided a handy poinsettia care infographic at the end of this post.
Step-by-Step Guide to Year-Round Poinsettia Care
Poinsettias are tender, delicate plants that are native to the tropics of Mexico. They must be kept warm and in an environment that best replicates their natural habitat. Any exposure to the cold will damage the foliage so protect them when transporting them to your home.
Light: Keep your poinsettia plant in a warm, sunny window but out of direct light. Make sure there are no cold drafts and the plant’s leaves do not touch the chilly window.
Temperature: Idea temperatures for poinsettias are 65-70 degrees F during the day, and no lower than 60 F at night.
Water: When the soil feels dry to touch, water thoroughly making sure there is adequate drainage. Do not let the plant sit in standing water.
If you’ve decided to keep your poinsettias for the whole year, follow this schedule:
January – March: Keep the plant in a sunny spot and continue watering as usual.
April: Once the leaves have started to fall off, reduce the amount of water to allow the soil to dry more and lull the plant into its rest phase. Only water enough to prevent the stems from withering and move to a cooler location (60 F).
May: In mid-may, cut back the main stems to 5 inches and repot into a slightly larger container with fresh potting soil. Water when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch and return the plant to a sunny window and warmer temperatures. When new growth appears, begin fertilizing every 2 weeks.
June: Now that the weather is much warmer, you can move your plant outdoors. Place in an area that receives partial shade in the afternoon.
July: Pinch back the new growth on each stem by 1-2 inches.
August: In mid-August, pinch back the stems again leaving 3-4 leaves on each branch.
September: Continue to fertilize and water as you have been and keep the plant outdoors until the temperatures drop below 65 during the day and 55 during the night. Move the plant back inside when temperatures drop.
October: Starting on or around Oct. 1st, your poinsettia will need a minimum of 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness daily. Since this is a “short-day” plant, it requires long periods of darkness to rebloom. Cover with a thick cardboard box or place in a dark closet at night and put in a sunny window during the day where it will get at least 6 hours of sunlight.
November: The dark treatment can stop near the end of November in which you will return the plant to a warm, sunny location. You should start seeing buds setting.
December: Stop fertilizing but continue to water and keep in an environment similar to last year when you first got your poinsettia. If everything has gone according to plan, you should be able to enjoy your rebloomed poinsettia for another holiday season.
If your plant did not rebloom, don’t get frustrated. Not all plants will bloom again. And, if all this seems like too much work, that’s OK! Just support your local Mobile florist and pick up a new poinsettia, or two, every year!