A poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, is a tender seasonal houseplant that flowers from December to January with an RHS hardiness rating of H1B (can be grown outside in summer, 10-15’c). These plants need to be positioned in a bright, warm room out of direct sunlight. Poinsettias need free draining soil that is kept moist. To keep the poinsettias red for longer, we suggest misting your plant daily.
How to Grow a Poinsettia
The best way to grow your poinsettia is in bright, indirect sunlight in a draught-free area. We recommend keeping the temperatures around 13-15’c, mimicking its natural growing conditions in Mexico.
Only water your poinsettia when the top level of soil has dried out. The best way to water your poinsettia is by removing the nursery pot from any decorative pot you may have put the plant into, placing the nursery pot in a shallow bowl of tepid water and allowing to soak up water for 10-20 minutes. After this time, lift out of the bowl, let it drain and return to its decorative pot.
Mist regularly to promote humidity and keep the colour looking its best for longer. You can also lightly dust the leaves using a dry towel as and when needed. If you are keeping these longer than the Christmas period, give a monthly feed of high potash liquid feed.
Further Care Instructions
Getting a poinsettia to reflower after Christmas can be very difficult, but is possible with lots of care. In early spring, prune back the poinsettia to 8-10 cm and keep in a temperature regulated room at 13’c. By mid-spring repot into a slightly larger pot with fresh, peat-free compost and keep in a draught-free spot that doesn’t exceed 18’c.
A poinsettia develops its flowers and colourful bracts naturally when they day lengths start to decrease, normally in December. However, we need to mimic the short day length in November, by moving the plant into a dark cupboard for 12 hours a day and keeping the temperature at a minimum of 18’c. Once flowering starts, mist the leaves daily.
A common problem with poinsettias is that the leaves wilt and drop off, this is usually a sign that the plant has become too cold. To reduce this from happening, move the plant away from any draughts and keep the room at a minimum of 13’c.
Another problem you may notice is grey mould, this is a result of overwatering. To prevent this, water only when needed and mist regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your poinsettia has gotten a little sober during transit, there are a few things you can do to make sure your poinsettia bounces back happily. Immediately after delivery, remove from any packaging and place into a warm room (around 13’c). Then water the plant, making sure that the top layer of compost is damp. It can take some time for your poinsettia to settle into its new environment, so do allow time for the plant to relax.
Most potted poinsettias last for around two to three months, but with special care they can be kept for blooming in the following year.
Normally poinsettias will lose their leaves if exposed to sudden temperature changes or are in need of more water.
Mimic the short day length in November, by moving the plant into a dark cupboard for 12 hours a day and keeping the temperature at a minimum of 18’c.
Near a sunny window in your house, but not in direct sunlight or near a heater as they are sensitive to temperatures.