Looking for how to keep your poinsettias blooming big, bright and beautiful all through the holiday season?
With colors that range from deep red to crimson, white and more, there is little doubt the poinsettia is the official flower of the holiday season. Often known as the Christmas flower, they are perfect for decorating a home from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day and every holiday and event in between.
But for many who decorate with poinsettias, keeping the plant blooming all throughout the holiday season can be quite the challenge. All too often, without proper care, they can turn from a gorgeous flowering showpiece to a bloom-dropping, droopy, near-lifeless plant in as little as a week or two.
Not only can it put a damper on your holiday decorations, it can also a put a big dent in your pocketbook if you have to replace them halfway through the season. But not to worry, we have you covered with today’s article!
The simple truth is that with just a bit of care, poinsettias can and should stay blooming for a minimum of four to six weeks. In fact, in many cases, with good care, you can extend blooming life to eight weeks and beyond. Which, of course, is more than enough time to enjoy them all season long!
With that in mind, here are the simple secrets to keep your poinsettias blooming and booming from Turkey day – right on past the big ball dropping signaling in the New Year!
How To Keep Your Poinsettias Blooming Big
The poinsettia plant originates from Central America. It didn’t become a tradition in the United States until the early 1800’s, when it was brought back by a U.S. ambassador to Mexico. The rest, as they say, is history, as the plant’s popularity soared as the houseplant that brought “Christmas” blooms.
Poinsettia “blooms” are actually bracts, and not a flower at all. Although they look like a flowering bloom, bracts are instead a set of colorful leaves that form on top of the regular green foliage of the poinsettia.
The bracts of poinsettia form and “flower” due to a change in overall light exposure. In their native environment outdoors, the change in light was caused from the darker days of winter, which is exactly why they eventually became so popular for decorating around Christmas time.
When it comes to keeping poinsettias looking fresh and beautiful as long as possible, it all comes down to keeping your plant’s bracts in tip-top shape. And to do that, there are three simple keys to success that make all the difference.
3 Simple Keys To Keep Your Poinsettias Blooming
#1 Proper Watering
The biggest key of all to keep plants flowering is proper watering. Poinsettias are extremely finicky when it comes to moisture. Give them too much water, and their roots can rot, leaving the bracts and leaves to yellow. And with too little moisture? Those same leaves will wilt, droop and eventually drop.
Of the two, over-watering causes more issues for poinsettias. Not only can over-watering lead to the yellowing of leaves, it can also rot away the root structure, killing the plant in the process. If a poinsettia sits in water, it will fail quickly.
Allow plants to dry out completely between watering sessions. And when you do water, water so the soil is moist and damp, but not overly saturated. On the other side, you also need to make sure the soil doesn’t stay too dry for too long. As with over-watering, under-watering will cause a plant to lose it bracts and color prematurely as well.
Finally, if your plant does look to be overly dry, you can mist the leaves. This will not affect the soil moisture level but helps to hydrate the leaves instead. Misting can be really effective, especially if you happen to have a home that is overly dry in the winter.
#2 Heat – How To Keep Your Poinsettias Blooming Longer
The second factor that will affect the longevity of your poinsettia plant’s blooms is heat. As in the amount of heat in the room, and the heat or drafts that may be near or in the path of your poinsettia plant.
Poinsettia plants bloom longest when kept between 70 and 75 degrees. If the room is too cool, it can shorten the lifespan of blooms by tricking the plant into thinking winter is approaching. Cool rooms also can keep the plants from drying out enough in between watering.
On the other hand, even though poinsettias love warmth and humidity – they aren’t overly fond of excessive heat. Overly warm rooms will shorten the bloom time of poinsettia plants as well. As can sitting them near a heat source such as a fireplace, furnace vent, or even a hot lamp.
When placed near a heat source or blowing air, the plant will dry out quickly. These types of heat sources also take moisture out of the leaves, shortening their life span in short order.
Lighting – How To Keep Your Poinsettias Blooming Longer
The third and final factor for extending your poinsettia bloom life is by controlling the amount of natural light the plant receives. Poinsettia plants need light to bloom, but if they receive too much light, their bloom life shortens drastically.
This is often the hardest of the three to control. Especially if your plants are part of a display near a window, or located in a sunny room. Place plants where they will receive a fair amount of indirect light, but not direct sunlight through a window.
If you really want to extend their bloom length, move them out of the light during the brightest or warmest part of the day. It may take a bit of extra care, but it will keep your plants in bloom for much longer than leaving them in place.
Post Holiday Care – How To Keep Your Poinsettias Blooming Longer
It’s important to note that even with great care, your plant will begin to fade at some point. As a perennial plant, a poinsettia will eventually go through its natural phases and head into a bit of dormancy. As it does, it will lose its brightly colored bracts in the process.
The good news is that because they are a perennial, poinsettia plants can be overwintered. See: How To Keep Your Poinsettia Plants Alive After They Finish Blooming.
Once your plant begins to fade, simply cut it back to around three to five inches in height. That includes leaves and stems. Next, place the plant in a sunny window. In just a few weeks, you will see new green leaves beginning to appear as your plant revives!
Here is to keeping your poinsettia plants beautiful through the holiday season! And even more, keeping them around year after year to enjoy! Happy Decorating – Jim and Mary