How do you take care of poinsettias? Very carefully. These finicky short-day plants require special attention for their specific growing needs in order to retain their Christmas blooms. However, with proper care, your holiday poinsettia should continue to put out blooms, or at the very least, remain attractive for weeks after.
Holiday Poinsettia Plant Care
Poinsettia care begins with proper light, water, and temperature conditions. During the holidays, while in full bloom, they typically enjoy semi-cool, humid locations in bright, indirect sunlight with plenty of moisture. They should be watered thoroughly, taking care not to drown them by ensuring adequate drainage is available. Likewise, avoid letting them sit in water filled saucers, which can lead to root rot. Adding plants nearby can help increase humidity levels in dry rooms, as will humidifiers.
Fertilizing Poinsettia Plants
Fertilizing poinsettia plants is never recommended while they are still in bloom. Fertilize poinsettias only if keeping them after the holiday season. Apply fertilizer every two weeks or once a month using a complete houseplant fertilizer. Provided the poinsettia plant is given the proper environmental conditions, it should begin to regrow within weeks.
Poinsettia Care after the Holidays
In Spring, return the plant to a sunny area and water well. Cut back all canes (branches) to about 6 inches from the pot's rim. It may also be a good idea to re-pot the poinsettia using the same type of soil. While poinsettias can be kept indoors throughout summer, many people choose to move them outdoors in a sunny, but protected, area of the flower garden by sinking the pot into the ground. Either way is fine. From about September through November, light becomes crucial in poinsettia plant care. In order to encourage blooming, poinsettia plants require long periods of darkness at night (about 12 hours.) Therefore, move the poinsettia to a location where it will not receive any night time light or cover it with a box. Allow plenty of light during the day so the plant can absorb enough energy for flowering. Again, provide semi- cool, humid locations in bright, indirect light with plenty of moisture once blooming occurs.