Poinsettia is one of the cutest indoor plants, often quite remarkable around New Year’s and Christmas.
Summary of Poinsettia facts
Name – Euphorbia pulcherrima
Family – Euphorbiaceae
Type – shrub, indoor plant
Exposure – well-lit
Soil – soil mix
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – November to March
You’ll start growing your poinsettia as early as September for it to bloom at the end of the year.
- Place your plant in good soil mix.
The quality of the soil mix will directly impact the quality of the blooming.
- It is recommended to place clay pebbles at the bottom of the pot to facilitate drainage and avoid having the roots linger in water.
This isn’t critical if you’ve just recently purchased your poinsettia and that its pot clearly has a hole at the bottom.
- Poinsettia is a tropical plant, it only grows in specific climate parameters that include both warmth and moisture.
- Growing it outdoors is however possible in the Mediterranean area and along coastlines and in warm climates in general, as long as shelter is provided.
- Water abundantly when the soil around your poinsettia dries up, and even wait for it to be totally dry before watering again.
- It is crucial that you water with water at room temperature or warmer than 70°F (20°C). Cold water can kill it.
- Reduce watering after the blooming because it doesn’t need as much, and start watering again at the end of summer.
- If its leaves turn white and loose their color, it’s most often due to excess water or insufficient drainage.
After the blooming, cut back the stems to more or less 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) from the base. Cutting back in this manner means snipping all the stems of the entire plant.
You’ll thus be stimulating new growth and renewed blooming for the following winter.
For more specific information about how to deal with your poinsettia after the blooming, read the paragraph dedicated to it below.
Growing and caring for poinsettia
Caring for it is rather easy, whether you’re talking about planting, watering or repotting.
It is perfectly suited to living indoors. The ideal air temperature ranges between 65°F and 68°F (18°C to 20°C).
It blooms most during Christmas time and that is when it appears everywhere in flower shops and garden stores.
Some varieties depart from the usual red and boast pink and even white flowers.
When growing it in a house and apartment, best is to locate it near a source of light, but without direct sun, especially during the most exposed hours of the day.
Ensure constant air moisture levels by often spraying water on its leaves. Here are other fun ways to raise moisture levels in the air.
However, avoid getting the flowers wet.
Fertilizer for poinsettia
- Don’t add any fertilizer during the blooming phase.
- Outside this period, start feeding it liquid flower plant fertilizer once a month.
Diseases and problems you’ll have with poinsettia
Yellow poinsettia leaves
If leaves turn yellow and wither, it means the surrounding air is too dry.
Best is to rest your plant on a bed of gravel, rocks or clay marbles kept constantly wet.
Leaves turn white or lose their color
It’s most often due to excess water or insufficient drainage.
It is important to water only when the soil is very dry.
Poinsettia after flowering
Your plant enters a dormant state. What is called “blooming” for poinsettia is actually a set of red or yellow leaves, because the poinsettia flowers themselves are quite insignificant.
- Towards the end of April, cut back stems by about ⅓, they should not be any taller than 4 inches (10 cm).
- Repot the poinsettia in a new pot filled with soil mix.
- Reduce watering and always wait for the soil to dry before watering again.
- Bring it outdoors over the summer.
- Resume watering a bit more often and add fertilizer starting in August-September.
- Bring it back indoors in September.
Poinsettia is a plant that requires floral induction for it to bloom again in the following year.
This means it must be set in complete darkness for 20 days from 6 PM to 8 AM the next day, so that it can bloom again come Christmas. Even artificial lights would disrupt this, so either move the plant to inside a cupboard, an unused room with the blinds drawn, or simply plunk it under a carton box.
- Your poinsettia will thus bloom again before the year is over.
Smart tip about poinsettia
Proceed to repot every year at the beginning of spring in order to enhance the following blooming and proper plant growth.
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