Poinsettias – top tips on looking after them

Poinsettias – top tips on looking after them

They are hard to resist when you see them piled high in the Supermarket but so many times they have wilted and died before Christmas Day and you’ve been left wondering what you did wrong!  Here’s some tips to keep your Poinsettia blooming until Christmas is over:

  • When you buy choose plants from a loving environment!  They hate the cold and draughts so if you find them in your local supermarket by the automatic doors I would avoid them!  Also make sure the pot is well wrapped in plastic or paper to take it home!
  • Once home place them in a bright position but not in a draught or in direct sunlight, windowsills are often too cold and avoid porches or by doors. Changes in temperature is often a houseplants worst enemy, especially in Winter as we whack the heating up during the day so don’t place your Poinsettia on top of a radiator either.
  • Don’t over-water or let it dry out completely.  Feel the compost and only water when it is beginning to dry out.  They quite like a bit of humidity but avoid spraying or misting the leaves.  You can achieve this by sitting the pot on a tray of pebbles or gravel that is covered in water.

They are beautiful and most people throw them away after Christmas but you can get them to bloom again in their 2nd year with this advice from The RHS:

  1. Prune back the plants hard in April, to about 10cm
  2. Repot them, growing them in a light, cool place over summer
  3. Flowering and bract colouring is initiated by short winter day-length, occurring naturally in December and January. So from November onwards, plants should be put in a dark room after twelve hours of daylight and protected from artificial light sources
  4. Plants need a constant temperature of around 18°C (55°F) to colour up well, so make sure they do not get too cold

Did You know?

  • Poinsettias are from Mexico
  • The red or coloured parts of the plants are often thought to be flowers but are actually bracts or modified leaves
  • The sap of the Poinsettia is toxic but not deadly
  • The plant’s association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became Poinsettias.