Westland’s Top Tips on How To Keep Your Christmas Poinsettia Alive and Thriving
How to keep your Christmas Poinsettia alive – not something you need to worry about just yet, but read this article on how to keep your Christmas Poinsettia alive and thriving this festive season. We’ll even explain how to look after it throughout the following year so the plant is ready again for next Christmas.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a festive favourite. Believed to have first been spotted by plant hunters in Mexico in 1803, the vividly coloured, star-shaped leafy bract formations are said to resemble the star of Bethlehem. Poinsettias were listed as a new species in 1834.
Poinsettias with beautiful red leaf-like bracts traditionally top the houseplant sales charts in December, becoming the most popular houseplant at Christmas, with the benefit being that the plants don’t break the bank! Most of us simply can’t resist adding this stunningly festive addition to our homes. Plant breeders, however, have worked their magic, bringing out shades of shocking pink, ice-white, neutral creams, variegated, marbled tones, even yellow and chestnut-brown, so there’s a plant to suit every style of home.
When shopping for poinsettias, steer clear of plants that are shedding leaves and ensure that clusters of yellow flower buds (called cyathia and located in the centre of bracts) are closed. Transport poinsettias home quickly, ideally wrapped in paper to keep plants snug. They’ll sulk and drop leaves if left in a chilly car.
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias aren’t too difficult to care for. Westland’s top tips on how to care for your poinsettia this Christmas will help keep your poinsettia thriving and you can even keep it going throughout the year, ready for next Christmas, with a little TLC.
How To Keep Your Christmas Poinsettia Alive
1. Keep your Poinsettia Cosy
Poinsettias don’t like fluctuating temperatures or to be near a draft (like most of us really) They much prefer a steady room temperature between 18°C and 25°C. Poinsettias need warmth and plenty of natural, filtered light, so being close to a radiator shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t keep them near the fire, doorways or windows. Cosy temperatures are the way forward with this stunning red leafy plant.
2. Inspect your leaves
Get into the habit of inspecting your plants leaves for any that are turning yellow, falling off or curling up. This indicates the plant is usually too dry. It’s not always easy to find the right place for your poinsettia to sit for the right heat and light, but once you’ve found it, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, happy plant throughout the festive season.
3. A mist a day
To keep those stunning red leaves vibrant and the green leaves a rich green, you can mist your plant to raise the humidity levels. The mist keeps the plant happy and saves you time in the long run too.
4. Feeding your Poinsettia
Feeding your poinsettia is essential for a long lasting display that can last through to March. Try feeding with Westland Houseplant Feed once a week. This plant feed can be used for all your houseplants, not just your Christmas poinsettia, so it’s great to have in the cupboard.
There is no set number of days when to water your poinsettia. It’s simple really, pop your finger on the soil, if it’s bone dry, water it. Don’t over water it though. What you want to avoid is the roots sitting in water, which will rot the roots – this isn’t good for any of your houseplants. A Kent & Stowe Indoor Watering Can is a stylish way of watering your houseplants, with a a long stem spout for easy, targeted watering.
6. Extending its life
If you’re feeling brave you can try to keep the plant alive for next year. It takes a little work, but once you get going, you’ll be just fine. Allow your poinsettias to go a little drier between watering during the spring. In May, cut about 4 inches from each stem to foster a lush, full plant during the winter. Spring also is the best time to start fertilizing. In May increase watering and re-pot when new shoots appear. It will need feeding once a week once it’s taken to its new pot.
7. The Fun Bit
Here’s the fun bit and the bit that’s going to make the most difference to the colour of your poinsettia for next Christmas.
To get poinsettias to re-bloom, limit its exposure to sunlight or this will affect the blooming process. By limit, we mean it needs to be in complete darkness for at least 12 hours a day and by complete darkness, we mean uninterrupted darkness. No walking into a room, opening a cupboard, nada! Some gardeners put their plant in a box between 5pm-8am, then put it in a sunny place in their home during the day. It does seem like a bit of a faff, but it’s only for 8 weeks.
Once your flowers start to bloom, just feed it once a week with Westland Houseplant Feed, like you did the year before.
Flower buds should be seen by November if all goes well. This process should ensure beautiful red petals again. You can proudly tell everyone YOU did that. It’s very rewarding seeing all your hard work come to fruition!