The cheery, vibrant red poinsettia with its dark green foliage is perfect for decorating your home during the holidays. The plant is native to Mexico and Central America. Due to breeding, poinsettias are now available in more colors besides classic red. There are burgundy, pink, white, and even speckled varieties.
Unfortunately, most of these beautiful plants are thrown out after the festivities come to an end or when the colored bracts start to fall off. Bracts are the leaves that are usually mistaken as petals.
As a houseplant, poinsettias are meant to be temporary fixtures, but they can persist past Christmas. If you want the bright and merry poinsettia to stick around a while longer in your home, here’s how you can make it last through the Christmas season and beyond.
With proper care, they can thrive until mid-January and perhaps even a little longer. Potted poinsettias start going on sale at garden centers by the middle of November. In the center of the plant, there are usually yellow bumps called cyathia. A plant with lots of cyathia indicates that it’s fresh and healthy.
Poinsettias love bright, indirect sunlight and indoor temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them away from open windows or hot, dry air from heating vents, which can cause the leaves to drop.
They should not be left outdoors unless you live somewhere that stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. These tropical plants don’t like cool temperatures.
For the best growth and blooms, the soil should be damp and rich with organic matter. When the soil’s surface feels dry, water your poinsettia at the base. Dump out any excess water that collects in the saucer so your poinsettia does not become water-logged.
If you put your poinsettia into a decorative container without drainage holes for the holidays, line the bottom with a layer of small rocks. The rocks will elevate the poinsettia so that it won’t sit in standing water.
Also, when growing in warm and humid environments, poinsettias may develop bacterial leaf spot. To avoid this, give your plant good air circulation and try not to get the foliage wet when watering.