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Poinsettia Pointers

By Paul James

I write this post every year, because every year Americans spend $250 million on Poinsettias in the six weeks leading up to Christmas. That’s a lot of green spent on a plant most people toss in the trash after the holidays. But then again, can you imagine Christmas without Poinsettias? So the goal is to keep your Poinsettias healthy and happy for at least six weeks, right? Here’s how to do just that.

Try to buy your Poinsettias on a day when temperatures are well above freezing, and make sure they’re wrapped regardless of the temp. Exposure to low temperatures even for a few minutes can permanently damage the plants. And don’t leave your plants in the car while you do more shopping. Depending on the weather, it may be too cold – or perhaps even too hot – inside your car.

Once home, carefully unwrap your Poinsettias and place them in an area that gets roughly six hours of indirect light a day. Most often, that’s an eastern or southern exposure. Keep the plants away from warm or cold drafts from air registers or open doors or windows.

Thankfully, Poinsettias are happy with the same daytime temperatures people are – 60 to 70 degrees during the day, and a bit cooler at night. Temps above 70 degrees will shorten the plant’s lifespan.

Check the soil daily, and water as it begins to dry out. If your plants are wrapped in foil, punch holes in the foil so water can drain into a saucer. Discard excess water in the saucer shortly after watering. Keep in mind that soggy soil will lead to root rot.

Do all that, and your Poinsettias should last at least six to eight weeks indoors.

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4 responses to “Poinsettia Pointers”

  1. Jan Bingham says:

    I have a poinsettia that is still alive from last year. It’s leaves are green, but will it ever gain have red ones? Or how do I force it to bloom again?

  2. Cindy says:

    I have a very old poinsettias(10 years old). How can I force it to bloom? It has bloomed sporadically over the years.