Poinsettias flower in mid-winter which makes them a popular houseplant for the holidays. Plus, their bright red bracts (leaves) are attractive and just the right color to bring out the Christmas spirit in people. The beauty of this plant can last from Thanksgiving to Christmas and even until Valentine’s Day. Poinsettias can be kept as a houseplant for years and will rebloom each year when given the proper care. The experts at Indianapolis’s best flower shop, McNamara Florist, have provided you with all the details of proper year-round poinsettia care. We also have a handy infographic cheat sheet for your below.
How to Care for Your Poinsettia Year Round
Once you get your poinsettia inside your home, place it in a sunny window where there is plenty of bright, indirect, natural light for at least 6 hours a day. Make sure it is not exposed to cold drafts or heat from an electric appliance. Also make sure none of the leaves touch a cold window as they will die. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and water only when the soil is dry to the touch.
After a couple of months when the leaves begin to fade or turn yellow, and your poinsettia is no longer looking as ornamental as when you first got it, gradually reduce water and allow the plant to become drier. This is how to coax it into its rest period. The leaves will fall off, including the colorful bracts. Once all the leaves are gone, store the plant in a dry, dark, and cool area (around 50-60 F). Continue to water but keep the plant on the dry side – water only enough to prevent the stems from withering.
In April or May, remove the poinsettia from storage. Trim the main stems to about 5 inches from above the soil. Repot the plant into a slightly larger container with fresh soil. Make sure the new pot has good drainage. Water until the soil is well soaked and allow all excess water to drain. Place your poinsettia in a warm, sunny window with temperatures between 65-70 F. When the plant appears to be actively growing, start fertilizing monthly with a diluted solution at half-strength.
When summer has arrived and temperatures stay above 55 at night, move your poinsettia to a lightly shaded area outdoors. Shade during the hottest part of the day is ideal. Maintain regular fertilizing and watering when the soil feels dry. Pinch the tips of new stems to obtain a bushy plant. Leave 2-3 nodes on each new stem.
When temperatures begin to drop in early fall, move the plant back inside and place in a window that gets full sun. Keep the plant away from drafts, low temps, and soggy soil. Ideas night temps are 60-65 F and daytime temps up to 75 F.
Known as a true short-day plant, the poinsettia must be in total darkness for a minimum of 14 hours every day in order to form flower buds. In early October, keep the plant in a sunny window during the day and complete, uninterrupted darkness at night for the next 4-6 weeks. Continue watering and fertilizing until mid-December.
Your reward? A beautifully rebloomed poinsettia! Give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work and dedication. If your poinsettia didn’t rebloom, don’t despair – some of them just won’t and it’s a tricky process that may take practice. And, if you feel this is just too much work, that’s OK. Your local florist always appreciates your support when you purchase new poinsettias from them every year!