There is nothing more iconic than a poinsettia plant. Whether in red, pink or white, this classic holiday plant makes a great hostess gift while also creating a festive look in any home. They make fab gifts and so easy to find. But how many people actually know how to care for a poinsettia?? So today I wanted to breakdown some great tips and tricks for making sure this holiday houseplant flourishes for you!
How To Care for a Poinsettia: Tips & Tricks
About Poinsettia Plants:
Known for it’s red and green foliage, poinsettias are actually shrubs and/or small trees. They can reach heights of up to 13 feet! They are also indigenous to Mexico and Central America, but were named after Joel Roberts Poinsett who was a United States Minister to Mexico. He is credited with introducing the plant to the US.
When it comes to buying a healthy poinsettia plant, look for intact bracts. Bracts are the actual name for the flowers you see and are usually bright red, pink, white or marbled. The key is to look for bracts that are tight when you purchase the plant. I also recommend poking your finger in the soil to see that it’s damp, but not super-wet or totally dry.
Tips for Caring for a Poinsettia:
Poinsettia can be a sensitive plant, despite being an incredibly popular Christmas gift.
- The pH of the soil is important to this holiday plant. The ideal range is 5.8 to 6.2.
- Also, poinsettia prefer to be potted in soil that is a mix of 3 parts soil and 1 part grit. This allows oxygen to reach the roots.
- Keep your poinsettia warm and in an area free from drafts.
- Be sure to inspect the leaves every once in a while. If the leaves turn yellow and start falling off, that is a sure sign that you need to adjust your watering schedule. Typically, this means that you’re overwatering the plant.
- Provide humidity by misting the plant
Are poinsettias toxic to pets?
There is a lot of conflicting information about whether poinsettias are toxic to pets. Personally, I’ve run into an issue where Georgette, our cat, has chewed on the leaves and then vomited. I called our vet and they said to monitor her, but other than that, she was fine.
How often should you water your poinsettia?
Despite preferring damp soil, poinsettias don’t like a lot of water. Be sure to test the soil with a moisture meter to prevent water-logging the roots. I recommend watering the plant when the soil is noticeably dry. And, if you want to really get into the care of your poinsettia, they prefer room-temperature water!
Based on what I’ve read, poinsettia can be irritating. If ingested, some of the reactions include a mouth rash, upset stomach, and drooling. I always recommend playing it safe with any houseplant though! Keep them out of reach of pets and children whenever possible, just in case.
Can I keep a poinsettia year round?
Surprisingly, yes! This actually really surprised me because I’ve always considered them to be a seasonal plant that only thrives during Christmas time. But in fact, they can be kept alive, happy and healthy throughout the year with special care — and you can even get it to rebloom!
How do you get a poinsettia to rebloom?
To encourage a poinsettia to flower again for next Christmas, the key is to maintain it’s usual levels of watering until April. Then, let the soil dry out. This will essentially tell the plant to go into it’s dormant phase of it’s growing cycle. When doing this, be sure to check that the leaves and stems aren’t shriveling up.
Then, after about a month, cut the stems back until about 4″ above the top of the soil in the pot. You can also repot the plant at this point. I also give the plant a deep water and fertilizer to ‘wake up.’ It also helps to make sure the plant is in a sunny location that is warm, about 75 degrees.
After the last frost, you can move the plant outside to a shaded location, watering as normal. Then, to make flowers appear in time for the holidays, cover the plant in complete darkness at night for the months of October and November. During the day, make sure it’s got plenty of sunlight. By following this cycle, you should hopefully have a flowering poinsettia in time for Christmas!
Those are just a few tips to help you better know how to care for a poinsettia! I hope it helps you enjoy the holiday season a little bit more, while also giving this traditional Christmas plant as a hostess gift. Leave a comment if you have any more questions I can try to answer!