Today’s article is all about the gorgeous poinsettia plant – and more importantly, how to keep it blooming bright and beautiful all through the holiday season!
Poinsettias are synonymous with holiday decorating. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the stunning blooms of this perennial plant brighten up everything from fireplace mantles to table centerpieces and more.
Poinsettias are actually quite the interesting plant when it comes to producing their color. Contrary to popular belief, the “blooms” of poinsettias are actually not flowers at all. They are instead a set of modified leaves called bracts that form on the plant.
As the amount of daylight shortens through the winter months, it causes the bracts to “bloom” with color. Although it can happen naturally, most poinsettia plants are forced into darkness a bit early. This is done so the plants can bloom perfectly in time for the holiday season.
Although the bright crimson variety of poinsettias are still the most popular, there are varieties of bracts that bloom in white, yellow, salmon, pink and even orange. And are they ever all beautiful to behold!
Getting The Most From Your Poinsettia Plants…
One thing is for sure, poinsettia plants can be expensive to purchase. In fact, the cost seems to go up more and more with each passing year – and that is all the more reason to make sure you are getting the most from them through the holiday season.
The good news is that with a little care, most poinsettias can stay in bloom from mid November all the way through to the new year. And that can be a big plus when trying to stretch your holiday decorating budget.
With that in mind, here is a look at four simple secrets to get the most from your poinsettias this year!
4 Simple Secrets To Keep Your Poinsettia Plant Blooming
One of the best ways to keep poinsettias in full color for a longer period of time is by giving them the correct amount of water. In fact, improper watering is the number one reason many poinsettia plants prematurely lose their blooms.
Believe it or not, more times than not, it is too much water that is the issue. Over-watering poinsettia plants will lead to soggy roots. Unfortunately, when this happens, the roots swell and stop taking in nutrients. At the same time, it also makes them highly susceptible to rot.
For best results, only water plants when the soil first becomes dry to the touch. This will allow the roots to keep from becoming saturated, soggy and swollen.
Check plants by sticking your finger down an inch into the soil. If it comes up with moist dirt sticking to your finger tip, allow it to dry out more before applying water. If it comes up clean and dry, it is time to water.
One final note on watering poinsettia plants – if your plant comes wrapped in a shiny foil cover, be sure to poke a few holes in the bottom and loosen the wrap. This will allow the plant to drain from the bottom, and allow air in to keep roots healthy and strong. Remember, soggy roots will result in a struggling plant!
#2 Proper Room Temperature – How To Keep Poinsettia Plants Blooming
Beyond good watering practices, providing the right amount of heat for your poinsettia plant can make a big difference in the longevity of the blooms. Rooms that are too hot, too cold, or have wild swings of temperatures will lead to early bloom failure.
It is important to remember that poinsettias are a tropical plant. Because of this, they need proper moisture and warmth – but not so warm that they bloom too fast.
To keep the bracts blooming at their best, a constant room temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Rooms that have overly cool nights or get too warm during the day should be avoided.
#3 Avoiding Drafts – How To Keep Poinsettia Plants Blooming
In addition to providing a consistent temperature, it is important to avoid placing your poinsettia plants near cool drafts or excessive heat sources.
Keep plants away from cold air returns and at a safe distance from exterior door openings. These short bursts of cold drafts will shorten bloom times with the sudden changes in temperature.
Likewise, keep your plants away from heat sources such as hot air vents, fireplaces and heaters. The overly hot conditions can not only dry out your plants too quickly, but shorten the blooms of the bracts by weeks.
#4 Lighting – How To Keep Poinsettia Plants Blooming
Finally, to keep your plant blooming as long as possible, providing proper lighting is a must.
To keep poinsettias blooming best, they need a good source of light. (Which is somewhat funny for a plant that needs to be in the dark to force the bracts to bloom in the first place!)
Plants do not require direct sunlight, but a well-lit room will extend the bracts color for a few weeks. Select room that receive plenty of light from windows. For plants that are used to decorate darker rooms, take them near a window each day for a few hours to provide enough light to keep their color strong.
After Christmas Care – How To Keep Poinsettia Plants Blooming
As with everything, all good things must eventually come to an end. And so it is with poinsettias and their blooms as the calendar turns from December to the new year.
The good news is that as a perennial, poinsettias can be kept to grow and bloom again next year. That of course at least makes their ever rising price a bit more bearable!
Once the bracts have started to fade, simply cut back your plants to a few inches above the stem and allow them to slowly start their growth journey back. For more on keeping your plants alive – check out our in depth article on the subject : How To Keep Your Poinsettia Plants Alive All Year Round
Here is to keeping your poinsettia plants blooming strong this holiday season, and to enjoying their brilliant color as long as possible!
This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, for gardeners. We publish two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. Sign up today to follow via email, or follow along on Facebook.