Poinsettias are colorful, cheerful plants that are a common feature around the holidays. Here at Ah Sam Florist, San Mateo’s best florist, we have the tips and tricks for keeping these beautiful plants looking their best throughout the holiday season and beyond. For a quick and easy guide, check out our infographic at the end of this post!
How to Pick the Perfect Poinsettia
Today’s poinsettias not only last longer than they did just years ago, but they also come in colors other than red, such as cream, white, pink, and salmon. When choosing a poinsettia, look for healthy green leaves and avoid those with leaves that are brown, curled, and about to fall off. Also, check the small flowers in the center to make sure they are still tightly closed with no yellow pollen evident yet.
Look at the poinsettia from all sides to make sure it has a full, pleasantly round shape. Also, check under the leaves to see if any tiny pests have set up home. Promptly put back if so. Once you have chosen the perfect poinsettia, carefully transport it to your home. Poinsettias hail from a tropical climate, so if it’s colder than 50 degrees F outside, be sure to wrap up your plant for protection.
How to Take Care of Your Poinsettia
Poinsettias thrive in bright indirect light with no draft. Water them when soil is dry to the touch. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Avoid overwatering as it could cause root-rot. The ideal temperature for a poinsettia is between 60 and 70 degrees F. Make sure the leaves do not touch a windowpane as the cold could damage it.
Once the holiday season is over, the leaves will start to fade and eventually fall off. Cut back the stems and keep your poinsettia in a well-lit place. If the temperature at night no longer dips below 50 degrees F, then you can plant it outside in a shaded area.
As new growth occurs, you’ll want to prune the plants down to about 6 inches in height. In June, repot your poinsettia into a slighter larger pot with fresh soil and fertilize monthly with liquid fertilizer at half strength.
Beginning in August, start pinching about an inch off of each stem to promote branching out for a fuller look. At the end of summer, the poinsettia needs to be back inside the house and given 12-15 hours of complete, uninterrupted darkness every day. The temperature should be around 65 degrees F. The best way to keep your poinsettia in complete darkness is to place a box over it. During the day, make sure the plant gets plenty of bright, indirect light.
Hopefully, if everything goes as planned, by mid-November, your poinsettia should start to develop some coloring and fully rebloom. Once the bracts have turned completely red, you can stop covering them up at night and care for them as you normally would during the holiday season.
If it didn’t rebloom, don’t get discouraged – just try again next year. In the meantime, you can pick up a lush, vibrant poinsettia here at Ah Sam Florist, your local florist shop.