How to be Successful with Your Poinsettias
With proper care today’s poinsettias will stay in bloom for months.
Watering is the most important thing. You want your poinsettia soil to stay moist but not wet.Not too dry!Not too wet! If you let your plant wilt all the way down, all those leaves will drop off. If you let it sit in water, the roots will rot and your plant will not last long. If your poinsettia is in a foil pot cover remove it when wateringCrushed or cubed ice are an easy way to water. Easy tip to using ice cubes. Fill a 2 or 4 cup measuring cup full of ice cubes. Count them. After they melt you will know exactly how much water 6 ice cubes equals.
How Often? Depends on how warm your house is and how large or small the poinsettia is. A moisture meter will help but your fingers work too. Water the poinsettia well. Be sure you let it drain.Make a note somewhere when you watered it. Feel with your fingers or a moisture meter to notice how long it takes before your soil begins to dry. Small pots dry out faster. Put a reminder on your refrigerator to check if your poinsettias need a drink.
Usually at least twicea week for a 6” pot. More often for smaller sizes. A large poinsettia in a big pot will take longer to dry out. Outdoor potted poinsettias will dry out much quicker than that same plant indoors. The watering will vary with the weather. Hot dry windy? Your plants will dry out faster. Chilly rainy? Your plants will take longer to dry out.
Finding the right spot.
Poinsettias are best in a bright light spot, but decorating for the Holiday season is important so place your poinsettias where they will show off the best. Don’t put them near a heater vent or in a cold draft.
Can I put my poinsettias outside? Yes, you can. but rain, extreme heat or really cold weather may damage the quality of your blooms. They will still look good, just not as perfect as inside.
Fertilizer:Once your poinsettia is fully in bloom it doesn’t need to be fertilized. After the Holidays you can begin to feed lightly. A fact you may not know. Once your poinsettia’s leaves turn red and become what we call the flower the plant stops growing. To make it grow properly again you must cut off the blooms. Follow the directions below.
Can I make my poinsettia bloom next year for Christmas?
The blooms on your poinsettias will continue to look good long after the Holidays are over. You may enjoy your blooming poinsettia for as long as you like and throw it away when you are tired of it. However, if you want to try to re-bloom your plant for next Christmas then you need to follow some simple steps. Around St Patrick’s Day cut off the blooms. Leave at least 6 to 8 inches of growth. Put your poinsettia in a warm spot and just let it sit for a few weeks. The plant should not be very dry but not too wet either. Soon you should see new growth beginning. After that you can begin to fertilize lightly with a liquid feed like Weidner’s Good Stuff every two weeks. Half strength would be about right. Your plant will grow quite quickly. Poinsettia’s natural growth is to grow quite tall. To keep it short cut it back again in mid-summer.
In order for your plant to bloom by late November or early December it needs to have at least 12 hours of black dark at night for at least 8 to 10 weeks. That means dark like night with no light. If your poinsettia is in your kitchen and you walk in at 10 pm for a quick snack you have interrupted the dark hours and the plant starts to count new. It’s complicated. Just trust us.
Feed lightly every two weeks.
Give your poinsettia a name like it is a pet or a member of the family. Patty Poinsettia is a good name. One fun way to be sure Patty Poinsettia gets the right number of ‘dark hours is to put her into a closet each evening. In the morning take Patty or Patty and Paul if you have two poinsettias out of the closet and send them out to play in your garden or patio. When you see the leaves begin to turn red or some other color then you do not need to put your poinsettia in the closet any longer. Let it finish turning red in a warm bright place. If you live in a moderate frost-free area your poinsettias will grow happily outdoors. As it gets larger each year you may want to cut it back to a foot or two above the ground to keep it from being 8 feet tall.
One more bit of advice. If you are going to plant your new poinsettia into your garden be sure you wait until March or so to do it. That way the soil is nice and warm and your poinsettia will feel at home.
Poinsettias are not poisonous but they make very expensive pet food and might give your pet a tummy ache.
Is it Poinsettia or Pointsettia? The name comes from Joel Poinsett the Physician and Scientist who introduced the plant from Mexico. The name is a bit long so many people in the growing business just say ‘Points’. Bring some more 6” Points out of the greenhouses. You can say it anyway you like. Breeders over the years have added to the poinsettia colors so that now you have a choice of many colors, sizes and uses from tiny mini poinsettias to large tubs and trees.
At Weidner’s we grow all the sizes and try to bring you the freshest plants and the best advice for keeping your poinsettias happy and healthy.