Poinsettia Plant Care

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Many people don’t know how to care for these delicate plants to make it through the holiday season, so if you purchase or receive a poinsettia and it still has the protective plastic sleeve on it, the first thing to do is carefully remove the plastic sleeve. The branches on the poinsettia plant are easily broken so the sleeve is on there to protect the plant from breakage. However, if the sleeve is left on the plant, it creates a high humidity environment where fungal growth can occur.

Most poinsettias are sold with a foil wrap to cover the not-so-attractive pot. This is good as it acts as a saucer to catch the water when the plant is watered, allowing the water to be absorbed by the soil in the container. Always check this out to make sure holes haven’t been punched in the foil wrap before watering. If holes have been punched in the foil, the water will drain out onto whatever surface the poinsettia is on. When watering there should be a little water that drains into the foil wrap. Wait about 30 minutes and drain any water that remains in the foil wrap so the plant is not sitting in water constantly. Root rot will set in if the plant is constantly in water.

The most common questions about keeping poinsettias looking good through the holiday season are, how often and how much water do I need to apply? The answers are water it when the soil feels dry to the touch. Different amounts of light and air temperatures will cause the plant to use water at different rates. Press a finger to the soil each morning, if the soil feels dry add water. The amount of water needed will depend on the size of the container the plant is in. Water until a little water comes out the bottom of the container into the foil wrap. Don’t forget to drain the water out of the foil wrap in about 30 minutes.

Place the plant in a bright location out of direct sunlight. This will help the poinsettia keep its color better until after the new year. Which brings up the next question that my daughter asked, what do I do with the plant after the holidays? Most people throw them out, however if you really like plants, the poinsettia can be kept from year to year with proper watering, fertilizer and direct sunlight. If the plan is to keep the plant until next year, then, after it has served its purpose for the holidays, place the plant in a window where it will receive lots of direct sunlight.