December 31, 2015 Gardening Tips No Comments

Dressing your house with the bright red cheer of poinsettias is one of the holiday season’s greatest traditions. But did you know that a poinsettia’s bloom time can extend from Thanksgiving to Easter?

How long your poinsettia lasts depends on the maturity of the plant, when you buy it, and how well you care for it. To keep your poinsettia looking its best even after the holiday season, follow these simple tips.

  1. LOOK for plants that have thick stems and full leaves. Fully colored flowers are ideal – those with too much green will never achieve full color.
  1. INSULATE your poinsettia on the ride home. Exposure to extreme temperatures, even for a few minutes, can cause leaves and bracts to drop prematurely. Never purchase your poinsettias and leave them in the car while you do other shopping.
  1. PLACE your poinsettia in a bright, naturally sunny location. Six hours of sunlight a day is ideal. Again, poinsettias do not like fluctuations in temperature so make sure to avoid placing your plant next to radiators or stoves. Also, if you choose to place your poinsettia on a windowsill make sure that the leaves and bracts do not touch the cold window. Ideally temperatures should be in the mid-70’s during the day and mid-60s at night.
  1. WATER when the soil surface dries to the touch. Poinsettias should never dry out to the point of wilt.  If you can, place a catch pan under the container. The water should ideally wet the whole root ball and begin to trickle out the pot into the catch pan. This may mean water every day or every other day. The second best option is to use the ice cube trick. If you can water the poinsettia well once per week, placing 6-8 ice cubes in the container every day will do a good job of keeping the soil adequately moist.
  1. CUTBACK your poinsettia after the holidays and keep it in extremely controlled lighting for it to have any chance to re-bloom.
Written by milbergers