If it’s December . . . you can be sure I have poinsettias in the house!
Maybe you do, too?
My poinsettias always start out looking gorgeous! But through the month, my poinsettias show signs of . . . not doing so good. Gradually, but predictably. Sometimes they drop leaves. Or, sometimes, the leaves stay attached but dry up like little potato chips. I’m pretty sure it’s my (neglectful) care that causes my poinsettias to wilt before the holidays even arrive, so I decided to do a quick review of “poinsettia care tips” before picking out my current batch of plants. I’m hoping to keep my poinsettias looking good . . . at least through the beginning of January.
(While I love red poinsettias best, I’m a total sucker for any plant with with “greenish” flowers, so that little guy came home with me, too.)
Here’s what I found out (because maybe these tips will be helpful for you, too).
Before I delve into those tips, though, here’s a little background. Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they are actually shrubby little bushes that bloom in December. (Wouldn’t that be cool to see!) According to poinsettia growers, poinsettias can bloom for 6 weeks to 2 months as houseplants with the proper care.
(I also can’t seem to resist a good “splatter” pattern, so I got this one, too.)
There are 4 basic poinsettia care tips:
- Pick the right plant. Look for tightly closed, tiny yellow flowers in the center. They should still be green-ish (with some visible yellow at the center). Once they open and turn yellow, it indicates the plant has been in bloom for awhile and won’t last much longer. If you see visible yellow pollen on the plant, it means the plant is past its prime and you should leave it where you found it.
- Protect your plant on the way home. Poinsettias are warm-weather plants (remember, they originated in Mexico) and don’t like to be cold. Cover them with a plastic bag if the nursery/store doesn’t provide a plant sleeve, and don’t leave it sitting in your car while you run other errands.
- Give your poinsettia a sunny window if you can. While they prefer lots of sun (and can tolerate full sun, which is hard to find in a northern climate in December), they will also brighten up any dark corner. Just know that they will do BEST in full sun.
- Keep your poinsettia well watered. (This is the key, actually.) Poinsettias need to be checked/watered frequently! If they are over-watered, they drop their leaves. If they are under-watered, the dry potato chip thing happens. According to poinsettia growers, you should check your poinsettia’s soil every day – and don’t let the soil dry out. You also don’t want to let your poinsettia sit in water that collects in the bottom of the “sleeve” or saucer. If your plant starts dropping leaves, the damage is done, and it’s not going to come back this season.
So. There you have it! Poinsettia plant care . . . just in time for the holidays! I’m going to try to pay more attention to my watering this year, and I’m going to move my plants into a sunny spot once in a while, too. We’ll see if my plants can last through the New Year. (Any bets?)
How about you? Are you drawn to poinsettias in December, too?
Phew! After all that, I guess I’ll just go up to the Christmas cupboard and drag my silk poinsettas downstairs where they can brighten a dark corner guilt free 😉
(Until last week, we have always had a cat. Cats and poinsettas don’t mix.)
This is the first year I haven’t bought any poinsettias, but I might still get just one. One year I took great care of mine and managed to rebloom it by putting it in the dark closet, clicking my heels together, and saying the magic words, but it still looked sad and spindly and not worth the effort.
I saw orange poinsettias around Thanksgiving. They were beautiful but my brain said “weird!”. I haven’t bothered with poinsettias for years as I love the Holiday cacti (I have 3) and amaryllis. Watching them grow in January and bloom in February makes winter more enjoyable. Love your limey green poinsettia!
I do love poinsettias but I don’t get any for my house because cats, mostly. Also, when I used to get them I would always feel bad after the holiday when I was . . . done . . . with them. I remember seeing pointsettias bushes in Florida when we visited Brant and it was SO weird. Good luck with keeping yours healthy in the weeks to come, sounds like you have a good plan!
Our house he is way too dry and the pointsettias would not do well. I do love them though.
In Florida we had them as outside plants. The only problem we had was white fly and the occasional freeze that would knock them back to the ground. Our neighbor had one that was almost up to the edge of her roof. When it was in bloom it was spectacular.
So pretty. Interesting so many have said they don’t have them due to cats. We have had pointsettias in the past and our cats have never bothered with them (I do know they are poisonous to cats…probably to others too). I don’t buy them – I’ve shown the pictures of my office decorated for the holidays and we are always encouraged to take the pointsettias home (I won’t do that this year since we are leaving town). Love your limey green one – so pretty and different.
I guess I never have to worry about mine because I never get any! But I do like seeing them out and about.
Good luck! I like a good splatter leaf too.:-)
I bought a poinsettia just yesterday. A beautiful speckled one! I love it! Because we’ve always had cats I haven’t ever had one before. Now I’m thinking it’s probably another house plant to kill. O.0 I think the yellow in the middle is open. /sigh
Poinsettias are such lovely plants, but I have never had any luck getting them to survive to Christmas… not once. I passed on them this year, and got some paper whites instead!
I’m missing the poinsettias this year … Lucy is putting EVERYthing in her mouth right now, and I just didn’t want to chance it. maybe/hopefully?! next year! That palest green variety is stunning, but I am a fan of red!
I get poinsettias every year and they usually “last” till Christmas dropping.leaves/petals/bracts? along the way. Thank you for your tips. i am intrigued by that giant Florida poinsettia plant. What a gift to the neighborhood.
I admire poinsettias but usually don’t bring any home. I have never had much luck with them. Perhaps if I had done some research, I’d have had more success. I did buy a new Christmas Cactus this year because the one I’d had for a long time gave up the ghost.