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Poinsettia

Poinsettia is a brilliant potted plant that makes a bold statement with its colorful bracts and yellow flowers. This Christmas classic is native to the tropics and thrives in bright light with warmer temperatures and humidity. Though many people receive poinsettias as a gift around the holiday season and dispose of them after they finish blooming, these plants can make an eye-catching addition all year round. With the right care, you can encourage this vibrant perennial to rebloom for many years to come.

How to care for your Poinsettia

Use these instructions to care for a Poinsettia. This guide will tell you how to water a Poinsettia; its light, temperature, humidity preferences and any additional care it might need to help it grow.

Poinsettia

LIGHT

Poinsettias love bright but indirect sunlight. An eastern window is ideal, or a few feet back from a southern or western window. Watch out for pale bleached leaves as this is a sign your plant is getting too much direct sun.

WATER

You should water your poinsettia when the top 50% of soil is dry. Water slowly until you see water begin to trickle out of the pot’s drainage hole, and make sure you let excess water fully drain out. Discard any excess water after a few minutes.

HUMIDITY

Poinsettias enjoy humidity between 50% – 75% ambient humidity. You can boost humidity by misting, adding a pebble tray, or placing a humidifier nearby.

TEMPERATURE

Poinsettia flowers appreciate daytime temperatures between 65-75° F and nighttime temperatures of 55-60° F. Keep your poinsettia away from drafty windows or doors, and any open vents.

FOOD

You can give your poinsettia a boost with fertilizer for flowering plants. Fertilize once a month after the plant begins growing again in the spring and throughout the growing season and into the fall. No fertilizer is needed during the winter months.

TOXICITY

Toxic only if ingested in very high amounts to pets and humans. The sap can be irritating to the mouth and stomach if ingested, sometimes causing vomiting. The sap may also cause a very mild allergic skin reaction in some people.

ADDITIONAL CARE

To encourage your plant to take on a full, bushy shape, prune the stems back in spring and allow the plant to flush out new growth. To encourage the plant to rebloom, ensure the plant receives complete darkness for 14 hours a day for a span of 8 weeks, beginning in mid to late September. This signals the plant to begin producing flower buds and colorful bracts in time for the holiday season.

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What's a Poinsettia?

Botanical Classification: Euphorbia pulcherrima

About

Poinsettias are bold tropical shrubs with vibrant, colorful flowers that are actually bracts, a type of modified leaf. Poinsettias add a splash of color to any home and are also a popular Christmas gift. As tropical plants, it can be tricky to keep them vibrant in the colder climates in North America, but with some TLC you can encourage these plants to rebloom every year. It helps to keep them somewhere in your home with bright light that will stay within their ideal temperature and humidity range. Be sure to let the soil dry down slightly between waterings.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America and were used by the Aztecs in traditional medicine and to produce a red dye. 70 million poinsettia plants are bought and sold in the US every year.

Fun Fact

The tradition of giving poinsettias at Christmas began in 16th century Mexico. Along with the obvious red and green color scheme, the blood-red color is said to symbolize the blood sacrifice of Jesus, and the star shape of the leaves represents the Star of Bethlehem.

Pictured Left: Poinsettia
plant mom
If your Poinsettia is getting leggy, you can prune it back every spring to help encourage fuller growth.
- Plant Mom

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