There are a few vital steps when taking your plant from one blooming season to the next, but by following these tips you can enjoy a thriving poinsettia when the next holiday season comes around.
These winter favourites are actually a tropical plant, and therefore require ample sunlight and a warmer, humid environment. Choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight and is away from cold or drafty areas of the home.
Keeping a poinsettia hydrated involves more than frequent watering. If your home is dryer during the winter months, setting up a humidifier, pebble tray, or misting regularly will help your plant look it’s best.
Water your plant when the top of the soil feels dry then empty the drainage tray. Poinsettias do not like their roots sitting in water so replanting to a pot that drains well, or removing/poking holes in foil that most plants come in, will allow the excess water to escape.
Leaf loss is a common problem. If you find the leaves are dropping from your plant, consider moving locations. Keep poinsettias away from cold windows or drafty areas and ensure the air isn’t too dry.
Providing nutrients is essential, however timing is just as important. Add fertilizers only when the plant is no longer blooming.
Once the blooms fade in spring, prune the plant back to 6”-8” tall and decrease watering to allow the soil to completely dry out before watering again.
When you see new growth in the summer, it is the time to transfer to a larger pot with a light potting mix. Feed every 2 weeks and pinch back stems as they grow to encourage branching.
When fall comes around (October) it is time to prepare your plant for blooming. Poinsettias bloom in response to shorter days, so putting your plant in complete darkness for 12-15 hours a day, for 8-10 weeks, is the trick to enjoying blooms year after year. Use a box, black plastic bag, or move it to a closet to ensure no light reaches the plant. Even indoor lighting will disrupt this process so TOTAL darkness is key.
You should start to see new flower buds after this period of time, which is cue to stop the darkness treatment and fertilizing.
Caring for poinsettias through the year to the next blooming season can be a bit tricky, but if you follow these steps and pay close attention to the health of your plant, your efforts will bring a beautiful reward!