Despite their festive reputation, poinsettias are known to have specific growing requirements if you want them to look lively and lush.
From certain lighting conditions to pest susceptibilities, we’ve listed different ways you can show your poinsettias some love to keep them looking vibrant and healthy.
1. Position your poinsettia in a well-lit area that receives at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight
It’s important to note that poinsettias don’t prefer direct sunlight. Instead, they grow best in well-lit spaces, both outdoor and indoor, that get about 6 hours of indirect light.
You’ll also want to rotate your plant every other day to ensure that light is evenly distributed around all sides of the plant. This way, they’ll remain vibrant and lively-looking.
2. Maintain temperatures of around 65-75°F or 18-24°C
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias don’t fare well in cool temperatures. In fact, ideal daytime conditions should be around 65-75°F or 18-24°C while about 60-65°F or 15-18°C in the evening.
Since they’re pretty sensitive to cold drafts, it’s important to keep them warm in the wintertime as they’re quite vulnerable to frost.
Having said that, they need to be kept indoors where they’ll be shielded from the harsh cold. You can position them in the areas of your home that receive the most warmth such as the kitchen.
3. Provide water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks
To keep your poinsettia looking its best, you’ll need to ensure that its overall health is in tip-top shape. To do so, you’ll need to provide a balanced supply of nutrients for healthier growth and stronger root development.
The best kind of fertilizer to give would be all-purpose water-soluble kinds because they absorb quickly and easily while providing all the needed nutrients to keep your plant’s vitality.
Because nutrients and resources deplete over time, fertilizers must be administered every 2-4 weeks to replenish the soil.
4. Prune the foliage regularly to stimulate growth
While it may hurt a bit to trim your bushy poinsettia, pruning encourages the plant to produce new shoots and branches. Thus, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes even bushier than before!
The best time to prune is in late spring or early summer as this gives the plant enough time to recover before winter approaches. You’ll want to do this regularly as maintenance to keep your poinsettia looking spiffy.
To do this, simply trim weak or leggy branches at a 45-degree angle using sharp, clean pruning scissors. Remove about 1-2 inches off the top, too, until it’s about 4-6 inches tall.
5. Mist occasionally to ensure a humid environment
While it may seem ridiculous given that they’re Christmas plants, poinsettias thrive in humid environments. Without adequate humidity, its leaves will eventually lose moisture and become dry, making it susceptible to wilting and health issues.
So if you want your poinsettias looking vibrant and striking, you’ll need to maintain humidity levels by gently misting every now and then or using a humidifier.
For a less laborious solution, you can simply lay out a bowl of water with pebbles nearby as it’ll evaporate and increase the humidity in the space.
Having mentioned that, avoid putting your poinsettia near heating vents and radiators as this will dry up the air.
6. Regularly inspect and immediately treat pests and diseases
Just like any other plant, the best way to keep them in good shape is to inspect them regularly. This means getting down and sometimes even a little dirty to check if they’ve been infested with pests, caught diseases, or are simply not looking so good.
While you’re at it, you’ll need to check on the soil level and condition, too. All of these factors contribute to the longevity and health of your poinsettia.
Through regular inspections, you can easily identify the cause and quickly address these problems before they get too out of hand.
7. Water once weekly when the soil’s dry to the touch
Before anything else, keep in mind that watering your poinsettia once a week when the soil is dry is merely a general recommendation to avoid overwatering.
As you already know, excessive moisture can lead to a ton of problems, from fungal infections to root rot. Thus, watering only when the soil is dry prevents your poinsettia from experiencing stress from sudden moisture level fluctuations.
Nevertheless, it’s still vital that you monitor the environmental factors that influence how quickly your soil dries out so that you can adjust your watering frequency accordingly.
8. Use high-quality well-draining potting mix
For the healthiest and best-looking poinsettia, it all boils down to how good its potting mix is. Otherwise, you risk waterlogged soil and insufficient nutrient supply, among other issues.
A high-quality well-draining potting mix ensures the perfect balance of moisture and nutrients that’s capable of supporting the growth of an extensive root system.
It also aids in optimal oxygen exchange, preventing suffocation and helping with proper moisture management.
9. Provide structural support for heavy foliage
When allowed to grow freely, poinsettias typically grow large, bushy foliage that can become quite heavy over time, especially when it is in full bloom. Without proper support, the weight can cause stems to bend or even break.
Since poinsettias are attention-grabbers because of their lush foliage and bright red blooms, we can’t have them looking down for the holidays, right?
As a result, you’re going to need to provide structural support in the form of cages or stakes to reduce the risk of broken and damaged stems.
10. Keep away from ethylene-producing fruits
If you have poinsettias as centerpieces in your kitchen island, then you’ve got to keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables. Produce emits ethylene gas as they ripen which also speeds up the aging of flowers.
So if you want your poinsettias to look fresh for longer, you’ll want to distance them from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables such as these:
|Ethylene-producing Fruits||Ethylene-producing Vegetables|
The best place would be an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight that’s away from any cold drafts and has adequate humidity levels. Ideal temperatures for poinsettias to grow healthily range from 65-75°F or 18-24°C.
To promote new growth, you need to prune back about 4-6 inches off of your plant. Aside from that, you can pinch new growth to keep its compact shape yet encourage branching.
Several factors may be causing your poinsettia’s leaves to drop such as sudden changes in temperature or sunlight exposure, overwatering, or underwatering, to name a few.
Poinsettias are mildly toxic to animals and can cause mild gastrointestinal problems when ingested. Thus, it’s best to keep away from both pets and young children.