How to Care for Your Poinsettia Plants
It’s one of the most festive holiday florals! Learn how to care for your Poinsettia plants.
Decorating Poinsettia plants for the holidays has become a tradition for many of us. They are absolutely everywhere during the Christmas season, from Christmas trees to wreaths, it’s the ultimate Christmas decoration – aside from the Christmas tree, of course. These beautiful holiday florals come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Plus, they contain small flowers of green and yellow at the center. Most people think that Poinsettias are difficult to care for because of their physical appearance, but they are easy-to-care-for, and you can try to get them to bloom again for the next holiday season.
Fun Fact: The Poinsettias are actually not flowers. They are modified leaves called ‘bracts.’ These bracts attract insects to the small green and yellow flowers in their centers.
Poinsettias, also known as Euphorbia pulcherrima, which means “the most beautiful euphorbia,” have become a Christmas symbol in many countries around the world. They are also known as Christmas Stars. Poinsettias are tropical plants that originated from Mexico. Much like its beautiful appearance, it also has a charming religious story.
There was a young girl named Pepita, who was walking sadly toward church on Christmas Eve. She burst into tears because she was so poor that she had nothing to offer compared to all the children hurrying along with gifts for the Christ Child. She was too ashamed to enter the church without a gift of her own, but her cousin Pedro said that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.
So she gathered a handful of leaves as a gift to Jesus on Christmas Eve. When she set down her bouquet, the leaves burst into blossomed into beautiful red plants we know as Poinsettias or “Flor de Nochebuena,” which translates to “Flower of the Holy Night.”
The most popular variety of the Poinsettia plant is red but, there are more than 150 different varieties, including creams, oranges, pinks, and whites. There are also Poinsettias in warm shades, such as apricot, pink, rose, or salmon. If this is your first time to care for a Poinsettia plant, choose a fresh, lively Poinsettia plant with dark green leaves and tight clusters of buds.
Steps to Propagate Your Poinsettia Plant
Propagating Poinsettias are easy through stem cuttings. You will need a pair of clean shears or a knife, a clear plastic bag, a fresh potting mix or fine sand, a healthy mother plant, rooting hormone powder, and a small plant pot. It’s best to propagate your Poinsettia plant in early summer.
- Fill the small pot with fresh potting mix or fine sand and water it well. Dig a hole a few inches deep in the soil using a pencil or your pinky finger.
- Remove a six-inch cutting from the healthy Poinsettia plant.
- Soak the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone.
- Plant the cutting in the hole you made.
- Cover the cutting with the plastic bag. Make sure that the leaves are not touching the plastic bag to avoid creating a more humid environment.
- Place the cutting in a suitable location with bright, indirect light. After around four weeks, you should see new growth. When this happens, you can remove the plastic bag and care for your Poinsettia plant as usual.
Steps to Rebloom Your Poinsettia Plant
It is not impossible to get your Poinsettia plant to rebloom, but it does require consistent attention. Water your Poinsettia plant as usual until early April, then stop watering and let the soil fully dry. In May, cut back the leaves of your Poinsettia plant until about four inches of stem remains, then repot it in fresh potting mix.
Water the plant well, but let the soil fully dry in between. Leave your Poinsettia plant outdoors, in a shady spot, then slowly under the full sun during spring and summer. Feed it with houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength every two weeks. In July, pinch back the stems. Pinch again in mid-August or in early September. Provide it with 12 to 14 hours of darkness each evening, from the beginning of October until Thanksgiving. However, don’t forget to place it back in its usual sunny spot every morning.
It sounds like a lot of work for most of us, but it’s rewarding when you finally see cheery red blooms just in time for the holidays. Here’s everything else you need to know on how to care for your Poinsettia plants.
|Botanical Name||Euphorbia pulcherrima|
|Plant Size||Poinsettias can grow from 10 to 15 feet tall, but you can control their size by pinching them back.|
|Types of Poinsettias||There are more than 150 varieties of Poinsettias available today.
Jingle Bells, which has red bracts dotted with pink.
Lemon Drop is a Poinsettia that has yellow bracts.
Prestige Maroon, from the name itself, is a deep maroon.
Plum Pudding is a Poinsettia with a lovely purple color.
Tri-Color Poinsettia has bracts in pink, red, and white.
|Sunlight||Poinsettias are tropical plants, so they prefer bright, indirect light or full sun.|
|Water||Water when the soil is dry.|
|Humidity||Poinsettias prefer humid locations.|
|Temperature||Poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60°F to 70°F and nighttime temperatures around 55°F.|
|Toxicity||Poinsettias are mildly toxic to cats and dogs.|
|Food||Any good quality, all-purpose fertilizer. Feed every three to four weeks during spring.|
|Pests and Problems||Poinsettias are prone to whitefly. They are also sensitive to root rot.|
|Omysa Plant Care Tip||Before buying Poinsettias, carefully check the soil first. It should be neither dripping wet nor completely dry because if it is, there’s a greater chance that it has not been given proper care, so it might not last once you take it home.|
CREDIT: MARTY BALDWIN / BHG
Poinsettia Plant Care Tips
Poinsettias can add holiday cheer to your home! Place the plants in wooden crates and place them on wrapped boxes. Decorate it with simple ball ornaments to complete the look. Here’s a complete explanation of how to care for your Poinsettia plants, from sunlight requirements to common problems and its solutions.
First, on our list on how to care for your Poinsettia plants is to provide it with bright, indirect light for a minimum of six hours or full sun. Poinsettias are tropical plants, which means they hate being cold.
Common Problem: If the leaves turn white and curl up, this could mean that it’s getting too much sunlight.
Solution: Yes, Poinsettias prefer full sun, but placing it under direct sunlight can cause damage to the plant’s leaves.
Next on our list on how to care for your Poinsettia plants is to water it when the soil feels dry. This depends on the light exposure and moisture level in your home. Water the plant well, but allow the soil to completely dry in between.
Common Problem: If the leaves of your Poinsettia plant are turning yellowish and falling off, this could mean that you’re overwatering. Underwatering Poinsettias will cause the plant to wilt and lose its leaves.
Solution: To avoid these watering problems, we strongly advise you to check the soil first. Take into consideration the light exposure and moisture level in your home. If in doubt, it’s better to keep your Poinsettia plant a little drier and to water them little and often. Never let it sit in water as this can lead to root rot.
Humidity & Temperature
Adding to our list on how to care for your Poinsettia plants is to put it in a humid environment. You can increase the humidity in its spot by misting it regularly, placing it near a humidifier, or by using a pebble tray.
Poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60°F to 70°F and nighttime temperatures around 55°F. Keep it away from draughts since it can lose its leaves if the area is too draughty.
Poinsettias are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. When ingested, it can cause drooling, mild signs of vomiting, or rarely, diarrhea. If the milky sap is exposed to the skin, dermal irritation may develop.
Another on our list on how to care for your Poinsettia plants is to feed it every three to four weeks during spring when there’s no growth with any good quality, all-purpose fertilizer. A dry fertilizer will do, but be sure to water your Poinsettia plant after fertilizing. A water-soluble fertilizer is the easiest to apply.
Pests & Other Problems
Poinsettias are prone to whitefly. Check the undersides of the leaves regularly for clumps of eggs and greenish, transparent larvae. Use insecticidal soap to eliminate these pests. Avoid overwatering problems, such as root rot, by checking the soil first.
That’s a wrap on how to care for your Poinsettia plants. Poinsettias make a stunning Christmas tree décor, garland, great centerpiece on the dinner table, or eye-catching wreaths to dress up your windows! Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.