Many of us will let our poinsettias run their natural course over the holidays, and as soon as Christmas is over, we cease all care and let them pass on to a better place. However, with proper and ongoing care, poinsettias can rebloom and make for fantastic houseplants even after the holidays.
Basic Poinsettia Care During the Holidays
First thing’s first: do not let this tender tropical get cold! Get it home right away, and make sure to have it wrapped from your car to your house.
Next, poinsettias prefer bright indirect lighting. Finally, water your plant when the soil is dry to the touch. Do not allow your poinsettia to sit in water at any time—there must be drainage at the bottom of your pot.
My Poinsettia Looks Awful! Help!
If you find that your poinsettia is wilting drastically or dropping leaves all of a sudden, there are two main reasons for this:
- It’s too cold! Temperatures should be above 60℉ (15℃) for this tropical houseplant.
- It’s too dry! You cannot forget about watering this baby, or you will constantly be sweeping up its little tantrums until it reaches the pearly gates.
How to Get Your Poinsettias to Rebloom
Here is the tricky part: during the initial blooming period that lasts from purchase in December to March, keep the plant in a bright room and continue to water when it’s dry to the touch. After March, we recommend the following:
- April: The plant will enter its dormant stage, and the leaves will begin to fall off. Fret not; this is supposed to happen. Water just enough to ensure the stems do not wilt and move the plant to a cooler area, at about 60℉ (15℃).
- May: Halfway through the month, cut your stems back just above the leaf nodes to about 4 inches, and repot the plant into a slightly bigger pot. Be sure to use fresh, indoor potting soil. Return the plant to a warmer, bright room and water whenever the soil is dry while you wait for new growth to appear. It usually takes about two weeks to see new growth. Use a balanced fertilizer and apply it every two weeks.
- June to August: When the outdoor temperatures stay consistently above 55℉ (12℃), you can move your plant outside, though it’s not necessary. If you choose outside, place it in indirect sunlight so it doesn’t get burned, and never allow it to dry out.
- Fertilize every couple of weeks.
- New growth and shoots should appear during this period.
- If pruning, wear gloves as the sap can be irritating to the skin.
- September: It is time to move your poinsettia back indoors as nighttime temperatures begin to drop. Spray for any critters if you think you need to and place it back in a bright room at 60℉ to 70℉ (15℃ to 21℃).
- October to mid-November: Poinsettias require a sort of “light training” and must be placed in complete, uninterrupted darkness for about 12 to 14 hours every night, but they still need sunlight in the daytime. Even a crack of light (like a street lamp glowing through a window) can throw this process off. Watering poinsettias and fertilizing can be done normally during this time.
- End of November to December: After about 6-8 weeks of “light training,” you can bring your poinsettia out to a warm, bright room again. Stop fertilizing around mid-December and continue care the same as the previous holiday season.
We know this sounds like a lot, but it is a fun experiment that can turn out wonderfully if you stick to the plan.
If you have any further questions about how to get your poinsettia to rebloom, come into Ted Lare Garden Center and let us give you the encouragement you need to pull this off!