Most people are bound to make a connection with Christmas when asked what poinsettias make them think of. These gorgeously red flowers hail from Mexico and have been associated with Christmas for hundreds of years. They manage to look great for about twelve weeks due to the fact that their scarlet centre is made out of leafy bract as opposed to petals. They thrive in warm countries and can be found all over the world.
Even though poinsettias can be very fussy, you will be able to keep them looking good for a few weeks but it’s essential to get the water and temperature conditions just right. Proper light will also affect the health of your plant. Keep them away from draughts. Windowsills are not a very good place considering that the light and temperature fluctuate too much next to windows. Whilst they are in bloom, watering should be done thoroughly, taking care that there will be the right amount of drainage. Neglecting to do this can lead to root rot. Putting other plants around them will create the humid conditions that they prefer, and during this time they will also need bright, indirect sunlight. You don’t need to fertilise them during the blooming period.
If you choose to keep your plant for an additional year, you will need to let the plant dry out a bit and slow down on the watering without letting it dry out completely. The best thing to do would be to move the plant into a dark area with cool conditions. During this time, after the holidays, you will need a houseplant fertiliser to be applied once or twice a month. Under the correct environmental conditions, regrowth should start to appear not long after.
In spring you will need to cut back the branches and move your poinsettia to a well irrigated and sunny spot. This can be outdoors if the area is protected. You should repot the poinsettia with a similar type of soil to the one originally used. When the new growth reaches a length of 6 to 10 inches, you can pinch off the tips. This will encourage branching. Repeat this process until mid August. The poinsettias can come indoors as soon as the days start getting shorter.
It is between September and November that light starts playing a vital role in the care of your poinsettia. Roughly twelve hours of darkness at night are needed to promote blooming. To ensure that no light reaches the plant during the night, cover it up by placing a box over it. During the day your plant will need lots of sunlight energy that will be used once it starts flowering. It will also need plenty of moisture. Ideally you will want to place your poinsettia in bright indirect light whilst keeping it in a coolish humid location.
Although poinsettias can be kept all year round, they tend to get a bit woody and the blooms are likely to be inferior the next year.