Extending the Life of Your Poinsettias

Poinsettias are a staple decoration for your home during this special time of year. The beauty is still the same as it has always been, however, the choice is now a little more difficult. While years ago, one might have only seen red and white varieties, there are now well over 1000 different varieties to choose from.  

Choose from brilliant reds, pinks, whites, rich maroon, marbled and speckled colors. For a modern twist on the classics, try one called Tapestry.  This poinsettia has variegated leaves with red flowers.  Or try a new color this year, like Sparkling Punch, which is a pink poinsettia with splashes of white on the blooms. 

Poinsettias are also available in a variety of sizes.  From the small 4½” pot that is one single plant, up to the bush and tree sizes. And while all the colors are not available in all the sizes, these larger topiary or tree poinsettias make a striking statement in red or white. 

Poinsettias are usually kept around the holidays and tossed, but in they make great houseplants for the entire winter when taken care of properly. Place your poinsettia in indirect light for at least six hours per day and avoid direct sunlight. Water the poinsettias when the soil feels dry to the touch, and do not over-water or allow to sit in standing water.  Also, when watering, do not water the poinsettia over the top.  This can cause spots on the leaves and can also kill the plant. 

Poinsettias like room to breathe, so be sure not to crowd your plant and unwrap it immediately. Avoid placing in colder temperatures, below 50 degrees F, or places with a draft, near a front door or fireplace.  

Poinsettias can last from year to year, but getting them to turn colors again can be tricky if you don’t have the right conditions.  To keep your poinsettia going, fertilize after the blooming season with an all-purpose fertilizer.  Keep it in sun to part sun outdoors during the summer, and then move it in when temperatures begin to fall below 50 at night. 

From September through November comes the key time to help your poinsettia change color.  You will need to put the poinsettia in a bright room during the day, and in an absolutely dark room as soon as the sun goes down.  This darkness is the key to getting it to change.  Even if it is in a closet, put a towel by the crack of the door so no light gets in.  If all is done right, your poinsettia will last into the next season for you. 

Happy Planting!