I was at the store the other day and sure enough, Poinsettias are out and about. Usually without fail at some point I will come home with one, it's pretty much an annual guarantee. If you are like me and fall for the pretty poinsettia and bring it home, there are some basics to poinsettia care that will help them last the entire holiday season. Poinsettias can usually last 6-8 weeks with the right care.
The number one problem that most poinsettias suffer from (and trust me I am guilty of this too) is inconsistent watering. With the holidays we often get so busy that by the time we remember we need to water the plant, the poor thing is already drooping and gives you the look of hey remember me? Can I have some water? So we quickly run and grab water or take the poinsettia to a sink and water thoroughly. A quick note, once the soil dries out it will take a bit extra effort to get the soil moist again. Usually with potted plants we say to let the water drain out the bottom of the point to help rinse away any excess salts, but if the soil is completely dry the water will run out long before the soil is fully moist again. So, if need be put a note up in the bathroom, in the kitchen, set a reminder on your phone to check the soil moisture daily. If the top inch of the soil is dry, take the time to water your plant, and make sure that whatever container you have your poinsettia in, that water can drain out the bottom. Most poinsettias show up with the pretty shiny wrappers. If you keep those on, punch holes in the bottom of it to allow for water drainage and the put a saucer under to catch the water that drains out. Leaving the wrappers on without holes will allow excessive amounts of moisture to be in the soil and can cause root rot which will cause the decline of the plant. Although it may be common to use a fertilizer when water house plants, avoid it this time around. Fertilizing poinsettias while in bloom can cause their bloom time to be end prematurely, so avoid the temptation to add fertilizer while watering.
Your poinsettia will be much happier with about 6 hours of indirect sunlight and avoid drafts from vents, doors, fans, etc. Also, even though that poinsettia might look really nice in that window over there even if it's a bit of a tight fit, the cold window glass can cause damage. So choose your plants home carefully. The happier the plant the longer it will last. Poinsettias prefer daytime temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees and nighttime temperatures around 55, but I know that I like my house around 70, so my poinsettias never experience the cooler nights. Even then, my poinsettias often last through the New Year without difficulty.
Poinsettias are one of the most iconic holiday plants and adding them to your home can help bring some color during the winter months.