Looking After Poinsettias at Christmas and Beyond

The first day of December marks the start of Christmas but how early can we buy our poinsettias? and can we really keep them going past Christmas and beyond? The answer is yes! follow our few simple steps to  ‘over-summering!’ and preparing your poinsettia for the following Christmas.

Leaf Drop

This is an unfortunate habit of your newly purchased poinsettia, they suffer terribly from changes in temperature. If you do bring your newly purchased plant home and it starts to drop leaves at an alarming rate there is very little you can do, however, don’t worry it’s not terminal!

  • When purchasing your poinsettia try to avoid leaving the plant in a cold car for too long or leaving outside until you have unpacked the rest of the shopping, Equally try to avoid bringing the plant into a very warm house, a Christmassy poinsettia might look great next to a burning log fire but it is a sure fire way of the plant loosing all it’s leaves.
  • Drafts are a No No too, a windowsill is a perfect position for your plant to live, but if you have drafty windows you could see the leaves drop before your very eyes!

Watering

  • Poinsettias like to be evenly moist, allow the compost to dry a little before its next water.
  • Don’t let the plant sit in water, always drain the saucer after watering and if your plant is in a display pot (A pot that you can place the plant and it’s pot in) ensure there is no standing water in the bottom after watering.

Temperature

  • The average household temperature is fine, around  68°c  and cooler at night.
Perfect Poinsettia Tip!
Use a mist spray, the plant likes humidity so mist the leaves once a day.

After Christmas and Beyond.

With a bit of care your poinsettia will live through the spring and summer and with a few tricks give you great coloured bracts next Christmas.

  • In the New Year, keep the plant in a cool place and watered until May. This will be it’s dormant period, the leaves will drop and the stems will start to whither.
  • At the beginning of June cut the stems back to a couple of inches above the compost and re-pot into a compost mixed with John Innes (this is a slightly heavier mix of compost enabling better water holding).
  • As the weather warms up, shoots will start to appear, move the plant outside into a shady spot. Keep it well watered and fed with a high potassium feed or use a Poinsettia Fertiliser.
  • As the plant puts on growth pinch out the growing tips.
  • As Autumn approaches move the plant inside.
  • At the end of October and the beginning of November the plant needs to be kept in complete darkness from about 4pm until 8am the next day. This will ensure deep coloured bracts!
  • Your beautiful and well cared for poinsettia should then be ready for the start of the festive season!

Read our post on Hyacinths at Christmas and How to Make a Christmas Table Decoration Video