You can hope for your favorite festive potted plant every Christmas and it’ll still be long gone by Easter.
Poinsettias, a South American herb, have been a part of European holiday celebrations for hundreds of years, but somehow most of us just can’t keep them going for as long as we’d like.
According to Claire Bishop, senior houseplant buyer at Dobbies, “When it comes to festive plants, there is no plant more famous for embodying the Christmas spirit than the beautiful poinsettia.”
He adds: “This beloved houseplant is a festive staple. However, it can be difficult to care for, which means many poinsettia don’t make it into New Year’s.
If you give them the conditions and tender care they need, you will be able to keep the festive spirit alive with flowers until next year.
So how can we help them develop?
Choose a bright spot
Bishop says: “Poinsettias are very light-loving, so you should put them in a bright spot where they will get at least six hours of indirect sunlight a day. However, you should avoid direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves of the plant. Being a tropical plant, poinsettia also likes heat, so you should keep them away from windows and other drafty places as this can cause the flower filaments of the plant to fall off.”
So, even if it’s darker outside, put your plant in front of a window and move it if it gets a little too hot.
do not pour too much water
When it comes to watering your poinsettia, Bishop says: “You should only water when the soil is too dry to touch. This depends on the temperature of your home, so your plant may need to be watered every few days or once a week, depending on its surroundings.
“Poinsettias won’t thank you for waterlogged soil, so be sure to plant them in a pot with good drainage. They also like a moist environment, so a poinsettia’s leaves benefit from regular misting, which should prevent them from drying out when you turn on the heating in the winter.
Much like their hot and humid habitat in America, you need to recreate this as much as you can.
feed the poinsettia
Bishop says you need to feed your poinsettia to make it last long after the festive season is over. He states: “Your poinsettia will benefit from monthly feedings to keep it thriving long into the New Year. Consider using a liquid plant food to fertilize your poinsettia throughout the spring and summer months to allow it to bloom again next Christmas.
Being in a pot can mean they’re not getting all the nutrients they need, so be sure to supplement that.
Do not let it overgrow.
“If you’re feeding poinsettia and it’s growing, cut your plant’s stems by one-third, about six inches, in the spring and remove the leaves from the plant to make room for new growth,” she says. “In late summer, after months of growing, you will need to re-prune your poinsettia to control its size before the colder months.”
Your plant may need a little more room to grow.
Bishop says: “In the spring, if you notice your poinsettia growing, you should place it in a larger container to accommodate its growing size. Make sure you use fresh potting mix with good drainage and choose a pot large enough for the plant’s roots to grow.