The poinsettia is one of the most popular Christmas decorations, bringing with it memories of holidays and festive cheer. But what do you do when Christmas has passed and you want to keep your poinsettia alive? To keep it healthy and keep those holiday vibes going through the new year and beyond, here are a few tips.
What is a poinsettia?
The poinsettia is a beautiful symbol of Christmas and has been around for centuries. It’s associated with Christian meaning because it was first used in the 17th century by Mexican Franciscans who were preparing decorations for Christmastime. The poinsettia was placed in nativity scenes to represent the star of Bethlehem, which guided the three wise men to the Baby Jesus. Its bright red color also symbolizes the blood of Christ. Today, poinsettias are still a popular plant used during Christmas to decorate homes, churches, and other places across the world. It’s a festive reminder of the joyous celebration of Jesus’ birth and is truly an awe-inspiring sight during the season.
The poinsettia is a member of the Euphorbia family, which includes poinsettias, crown of thorns, poinsettia bracts, and more. Poinsettias can brighten up any holiday celebration with their vibrant colors and unique shapes.
Why do poinsettias die?
Though poinsettias are a cheerful, festive plant to have at home during the holidays, they do have a short life span. Poinsettias will only last for about six weeks without special care. After that time, they tend to wilt and die off due to lack of sunlight and other environmental factors. If you’re not careful, poinsettias can quickly become a forgotten Christmas decoration. However, you can keep your poinsettia alive to see another year!
What are the types of poinsettias?
There are several types of poinsettias available for purchase. Traditional poinsettias boast vivid red and green foliage, while other varieties come in pink, white, and even yellow. Some poinsettias also have variegated leaves that feature two or more colors in one stem. If you’re looking to switch up your poinsettia look, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Are poinsettias poisonous?
No need to worry: poinsettias are not poisonous. In fact, poinsettias are considered non-toxic and pose no risk to humans or animals if ingested. That being said, poinsettia sap may cause skin irritation in some individuals, so it’s important to wear gloves when pruning the plant.
How to keep poinsettia alive
Fortunately, there are some ways you can help extend the life of your poinsettia and keep it around for longer than six weeks. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Keep your poinsettia away from drafts
Keeping it in a warm location will keep the leaves from drying out and keep it looking bright and cheerful all year round. Location is key – keep your poinsettia somewhere bright, but away from direct sunlight. It should also have plenty of room to grow, so keep it away from fireplaces and radiators. Temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.
Provide plenty of indirect sunlight
Poinsettias need at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day to thrive. If you don’t have enough natural light in your home, consider using grow lights or fluorescent lighting.
Water regularly but not excessively
Keep the soil moist by regularly watering when the top inch of soil is dry. To keep it looking nice, you can also mist the leaves with water every few days, which will keep them from getting crispy. You should let the soil dry out between waterings, and only give your poinsettia as much as it needs to stay healthy. This will help avoid root rot and fungus gnats.
Fertilize during spring and summer
Finally, fertilize your poinsettia monthly during the spring and summer months to keep it in top condition. With a bit of care and attention, your poinsettia could last up to two years and beyond!
Remember, these steps will allow you to keep your poinsettia as a lovely, green houseplant. However, if you want it to bloom again next year, you’ll need to follow a few extra steps.
How to get poinsettias to rebloom next Christmas
Cut back the stems
Cut your poinsettia to about six inches once the bracts fall off, and place the plant near a sunny window.
Place it outside in the spring
To give your poinsettia the best chance of reblooming, place it outside in a shady spot in early spring when temperatures are between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are above 50. Place it somewhere that receives bright, indirect light.
Provide poinsettia with plenty of nutrients to encourage healthy growth and blooming. Apply a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10, for instance) to poinsettia once a month from the beginning of April until mid-August.
Bring poinsettias indoors in the fall
Bring indoors when overnight temperatures fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Poinsettias need 14-15 hours of darkness each day in order to bloom. Place the poinsettia in a corner or closet away from any lights, and cover it with a box or cloth for at least 12 uninterrupted hours every night for about 8 weeks. Uncover the poinsettia during the day and expose it to bright, indirect light.
Uncover once bracts are red
Once the poinsettia’s bracts turn red, stop covering it at night and enjoy your poinsettia for the remainder of the holiday season. Enjoy them now and in years to come with these steps!
With these tips in mind, you can keep your poinsettia alive through Christmas and keep it looking festive all year round.So don’t forget to show your poinsettia some love – with a bit of extra care, you can make sure that it stays vibrant and cheerful for years to come.