Poinsettia (Botanical Name: Euphorbia pulcherrima)
'Tis the season for holiday cheer and some beautiful greenery and foliage. One of the most popular plants during the Christmas and holiday season is the poinsettia. This beauty, originating in Mexio, has evolved over time and is now available in all sorts of colors and sizes. They are beautiful plants that bring stunning color to any space. Found in an array of sizes, the poinsettia can be a showstopper all on its own or when strategically spaced in groups around a space.
We offer poinsettia services to our current "green" clients, so we know a thing or two about making these beauties last through the season. When we are out servicing these plants, we get countless questions on the best way of caring for and maintaining the beauty of these plants through the holiday season.
Where you purchase your plant is actually the first step in having success with your poinsettia plants. You want to make sure that you are purchasing a healthy plant, otherwise you are going to have problems with your plant from the very beginning. Some stores like to showcase their poinsettias at the front of the store where the doors are continually opening and closing. Considering poinsettias really don't like drafts or cold, this is not an ideal place from which to purchase a poinsettia. Most likely there will already be some cold and wind damage on the plant before you even get it home. Instead, chose a plant from a place that takes good care of their poinsettias. You can see that they are watered appropriately and aren't suffering from leaf drop and damage. Make sure that you also cover your plant when you travel with it to home if the temperatures outside are cold. You'd be amazed at how quickly cold can damage the beauty of a plant.
Placing the poinsettia in the proper area will help your plant thrive throughout the season. These plants like warmth & light. Direct sunlight isn't ideal and neither is complete shade. Poinsettias enjoy that indirect light that many indoor plants prefer. Not only that, make sure they plants are not near a drafty door, or heater, as they do not like wind upon their leaves. The typical indoor temperature of a home will suit a poinsettia well, but if you like your home really cold, you may want to turn up the thermostat to keep your plant thriving.
Poinsettias like to be evenly moist. They don't prefer to completely dry out, and they don't like to be water-logged, which will cause root rot just like all your other indoor plants. Depending on the size of the pot and the location of the plant, you may find yourself watering the plant every other day, or maybe even less than a week. You can pick up the pot and feel if it is heavy or light. A heavy pot indicates that the plant has plenty of water, while an extremely light pot tells you that the plant is too dry and it is definitely time to water. You can also use your finger or a long stick to push down into the pot and see how moist it might be. That will give you a good idea of whether it will need watered or not. If you are struggling with deciding how much water and how often, you can sub-irrigate the plant so the plant can decide how much water to uptake. Sub-irrigating is simply placing water in the tray the pot is sitting in. This allows the plant to take the water up into its roots from the bottom and is our preferred way to water the poinsettias we service.
After the Holidays
In theory, you could get a poinsettia to bloom again year after year, but it is pretty difficult and takes quite a bit of effort. If you are up for it, then go ahead and give it a try. Assuming you've been successful with the aforementioned tips, you'll need to prune your poinsettia heavily in April, down to about 4 inches or so. You can repot your poinsettia and then make sure to keep it nice and cool all through the summer. This could be a well air conditioned house or other cool area you might have available. Then, when November rolls around, it will be time to start forcing the plant to bloom. You'll want to mimic the short days of winter, so you will keep the plant in 12 hours of full, bright sunlight, followed by 12 hours of complete darkness, and this is what will make the plants flourish back to the bright red, or whatever color you might have had the previous year. If this seems extremely satisfying to you, then give it a shot! We however, will be purchasing ours fresh the next holiday season.
Overall, poinsettias aren't super difficult to care for. With a little attention and love, they can last you all season long and plus some. Enjoy their beauty and your holiday season too!
For more information on how to become a "green" client with us, reach out to us HERE.