7 August 2020

6 Tips To Keep Your Poinsettias Looking Good This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year when these colorful plants make it into our homes and offices bringing us to cheer during this winter holiday season.  Something alive and growing in December – it’s a Christmas miracle!  They can be a bit fickle so I’m sharing these Poinsettia care tips so you keep them looking good throughout the holiday season.

Poinsettias are the most popular plant sold here in the US with almost 50 million pots sold last year. They’re happily grown in climate-controlled greenhouses and then foiled, sleeved, to be sent out on trucks to a retail destination.

They’re exposed to cold drafts and then crammed together on racks for display in grocery stores, Home Depots, Lowes, local garden centers, etc. Poinsettias have been through it all before they even get into your hands and find a place in your homes.

Here’s a post to help you pick out the perfect poinsettia and make it last.

A sea of beautiful white Poinsettias happily growing in the greenhouse.

Poinsettia Care Tips:

#1  Buy healthy plants.  Poinsettias usually come wrapped in foil so peel it back if you can. Check the lower foliage to make sure it looks good & that the leaves haven’t yellowed & started to fall off.  The plants should have lots of colored leaves (technically called bracts) with the small yellow flowers in the center still intact & just opening or partially open.  You want to make sure those yellow flowers are still showing, otherwise the plants are on their way out.

If your Poinsettias have come in paper or plastic plant sleeves, be sure to remove them as soon as you get home the so that the plants are exposed to light & air.  They’ve been growing a nice, cushy greenhouse & have had a long, not so ideal journey to reach you after all!

As you can see, some of the colored leaves (bracts) are still turning & the plants will be in full regalia for the Christmas season. The small yellow flowers in the center haven’t opened yet. 

#2  Place your Poinsettias in a bright spot.  They like as much natural light as you can give them, just not next to a hot or cold window.  Near a sunny window, but not in it, would be fine.

I’m in a grower’s greenhouse surrounded by bench after bench of Poinsettias talking care.  You’ll want to check it out:

#3  Temperature fluctuation is best.   Poinsettias like it on the warmer (not hot) side during the day & cooler at night.  It can be tricky to find that balance but do your best.  If you turn your heat back at night to say 60 degrees F, then your Poinsettias will be happier & last longer.

#4  Strike a balance with watering.  Surprisingly, these plants with the large, smooth colored leaves are Euphorbias which means they’re succulents.  Unlike the Pencil Cactus I just gave you care tips for, you don’t want your Poinsettias to dry out.  The soil should be slightly moist to the touch.  They will loose their lower leaves & shrivel if kept too dry.

Conversely, if you keep them too wet, they’ll also lose their lower leaves.  The soil can become waterlogged which means the roots will rot. This often happens because people don’t take off the foil or take them out of the decorative pot when watering.  This means the water can’t drain out of the pots & your beautiful Christmas plants can die. And, you don’t want your Poinsettia to sit in any water.

It’s hard to give a time schedule but as (very) general rule, water your Poinsettias about once a week.  How often will depend on your home environment conditions. You need to find that happy in between when it comes to watering.

These red Poinsettias are timed to go out just after Thanksgiving & will be showing full color by then.

#5  Remove the foil.  You want to take your Poinsettias  out of the foil (or decorative pot) so you can give it a good drink.  Water the soil thoroughly & let it all drain out before placing it back them back in the decorative containers. If you have a saucer placed under the plant, make sure it doesn’t have water sitting in it.

#6  Keep them away from heaters & cold drafts.  Plain & simple, Poinsettias don’t like hot or cold air blasting at them. They won’t appreciate being placed right next to a fireplace that’s in use either.

This is “Jingle Bells”.  Long gone are the days of the red Poinsettias only – there have been so many new introductions in the past 20 years. There’s even an orange Poinsettia now!

By the way, Poinsettias emit a white, milky sap (just like the Pencil Cactus & other Euphorbias) that was once considered toxic.  Everything I’ve recently read now points to fact that this sap is much less toxic than originally thought, if at all.  

This is good news indeed if you have pets and are worried about them being in close proximity to these festive Christmas plants. However, if your pets like to chew on plants, it’s best to display your Poinsettias where they can’t have at them just to be safe.

I love Poinsettias and always have a few in my home during the holiday season to brighten things up.  I’ve kept 1 looking good for almost 2 months so it’s possible if all the about factors are right.  

This plant, also known as the Christmas Flower or Christmas Star, signifies success and good cheer.  December 12th is National Poinsettia Day so pick up a few and celebrate this festive time of year. I hope these Poinsettia care tips will keep yours looking good throughout the season!

Looking for alternative blooming plant options for this season? Be sure to check out my list of 13 in this post.

Are you a fan of white? Here are white blooming plants to add a touch of elegance to your home.

A joyous holiday to you,

This is my neighbor’s front courtyard. I love how vibrant the red Poinsettia is against the orange Flame Vine.  And, there’s a few succulents in the mix to.

Poinsettias actually become small trees & this 1 just a few blocks away from me in Santa Barbara, CA is no exception.  My what a rangy, but colorful, form it has!


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