Don’t Throw out the Holiday Cheer this Year – Saving Poinsettias
Holiday cheer doesn’t need to end when it’s time to put the decorations away and get started on a fresh year. Poinsettias are a staple for holiday décor and we want to help you keep them thriving for next year’s season! Here are a few tips and tricks to keep these beautiful flowers alive all year long.
Starting out right
Keeping a poinsettia alive throughout the year starts when you buy it (or receive it as a gift!). Like any other plant, poinsettias need light, water and the ideal environment to flourish. These flowers do best when they have a spot that gets lots of sun. Placing them next to a window where they will get direct sunlight is your best bet.
Water these plants just like any other. When the surface of the soil is dry, they are thirsty. Water them until drops are coming out of the bottom of the pot, but be sure not to drown them! Humidity is just as crucial as water. House plants are prone to issues when the space they are in lacks humidity—like in the winter time. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a humidifier for your home. Simply be more diligent about watering.
During the winter, you need to heat your home to stay warm, so it only makes sense that your plants need this heat, too. Poinsettias do best in temperatures from 65° to 75°F, but temperatures that are slightly lower shouldn’t harm them. Leaves should not be up against cold glass or in front of open windows or instances of leaf drop could occur.
After the most wonderful season of all
Once the holidays are over, poinsettia care doesn’t stop. At first, all your plant needs is constant watering when the soil looks dry. This should keep it going through the first quarter of the year or so. The soil should be moist all the time, but not soaked. As long as you are using your heat, it is important to keep the plant away from any cold drafts. Continue this regimen until outside temperatures reach about 55°F at night.
Next, you can move your plant into a cool garage, basement or shed. When this happens, you don’t have to continue watering or worry about offering the plant light.
When spring sets in, your poinsettia is ready to be trimmed. We recommend trimming it until it is about 8” tall. This should be done by late March or early April. During this time, your watering plan should start back up. It will be helpful to the plant if you treat it to a serving of good fertilizer about once a month to promote healthy, leafy growth.
Late spring is the perfect time of year to move your plant outside so it can get some nice warm sun all day long. Watering and fertilizing should be done every few weeks at this point. Make sure temperatures are steady between 50° and 60°F before moving the plant outside.
What to do for the rest of the year?
Most of the major leg work is done once you move your plants outside. July is a good time to prune a bit again, but pruning should be done by the end of August. When cold weather sets in, bring your poinsettia inside and transplant it into a larger pot. This pot should have good drainage because poinsettias are light drinkers.
Soon, you will see poinsettias budding again (just in time for the holidays to roll back around!). Place your plant in a dark space for 10 to 12 hours a night for a ten-week period starting in late September. The temperature in the space should be between 55 and 65°F during this time. Sticking it back in the basement or garage is a good idea. During the day, let these plants enjoy some sun in front of a window for around 6 to 8 hours each day. The temperature at this point should go back up to 65 to 70°F. Resume normal watering and fertilizing and let the holiday fun ensue!
Do you plan on saving your poinsettias after the holidays this year?