How to Care For Poinsettias During The Holidays

Have you ever marveled at the beauty of poinsettias during the Christmas season?

Poinsettias are like festive showstoppers with their bright red and green leaves, bringing holiday cheer
Poinsettias are like festive showstoppers with their bright red and green leaves, bringing holiday cheer

Their rich red leaves almost look like they’ve been airbrushed for the occasion.

But before you could enjoy it – the winter chill is stripping these festive stars of their decorative foliage.

Fortunately, here are steps you can take to prevent this undesirable occurrence.

And this article is all about tending for poinsettias so as it can showcase its beauty through the season against the harsh winter test.

How to Care For Poinsettias During The Holidays

Winter has just approached, and their leaves are falling uncontrollably. Why?
Winter has just approached, and their leaves are falling uncontrollably. Why?

Poinsettias shedding their leaves just when we want them to be at their best – during winter.

However, beyond their Christmas charm, this leaf-dropping is a normal biological response to the cold, similar to many other plants.

In essence, it’s the chilly weather that prompts these stunning leaves to fall.

Poinsettias thrive in zones 9 through 11, and temperatures below 50 F can begin to cause damage to them.  

Therefore, your key to preserving poinsettias during the colder months is to protect them from any exposure to extreme cold.

Tips For Keeping Poinsettias Outdoor in Winter

I understand the temptation – those poinsettias are too beautiful not to showcase in your outdoor Christmas display.

While this might not pose an issue in areas where the plant thrives in the ideal hardiness zone, it becomes more challenging in colder regions with snow and freezing temperatures.

If you’re eager to place the plant outside, there are possibilities, but there are certain requirements to keep in mind:

Avoid Extended Exposure

Refrain from leaving your poinsettia outdoors for prolonged periods in cold weather.

Water Before Show Time

Some water before leaving the plant to the openness and increase its tolerance to a certain degree.

Stay Above Freezing

Never subject the plant to temperatures below 32 F (freezing point), as this can result in freezing soil or leaves and kill your plant.

Overnight Protection

Do not leave the poinsettia outside overnight, especially when temperatures are set to drop.

Monitor Sun Exposure

While it’s acceptable to place the poinsettia in a sunny spot during the day for a few hours, keep a close eye on the temperature. Soil conditions also play a role in determining its cold resistance.

The Show Is Off

If the temperature in your place gets under freezing point even when it is the hottest hour of the day. Unfortunately, you will need to keep the plant indoors if you’d like it to survive through the festive season.

How To Prepare For Winter

Poinsettias does not always have red leaves.

They can turn red with a bit of manipulation and this requires several weeks of preparation at least.

I’d say months for optimal results.

If your winter means snow and sustained freezing point, get it indoors!
If your winter means snow and sustained freezing point, get it indoors!

These lively plants are like sun worshippers, so pop them by a window for some direct sunlight lovin’.

When these beauties are in full bloom, don’t forget they like their soil to feel like a cozy, damp hug.

If it starts feeling dry, shower them with some water love.

Now, as the temperature takes a nosedive below 18°C in the fall, it’s time to usher your poinsettias back indoors, cueing the start of their fabulous flowering show.

A Dark Period for Renewal

Did you know that poinsettia is generally green unless a special condition is involved?
Did you know that poinsettia is generally green unless a special condition is involved?

For your poinsettias to turn red (and flowers also), they need exposure to 12 hours of darkness.

This can be achieved by placing them in a dark room from 5 PM until 8 AM the next morning.

During the day, make sure they receive ample sunlight.

This process should be followed for eight consecutive weeks, starting from early October.

To create darkness, you can place your poinsettia in a cardboard box or paper bag.

Remember, after the flowering phase, there’s no need to add fertilizer. Simply continue watering as you have been doing.

That special condition is DARKNESS: 8 hours/day, 8 consecutive weeks at least
That special condition is DARKNESS: 8 hours/day, 8 consecutive weeks at least

A Lasting Floral Delight

Once the holiday season is over, many people discard their poinsettias as they believe these plants only last for the festive period.

However, with a little attention, poinsettias can continue to flourish and add beauty to your home long after the festivities have ended.

Nurturing through Spring and Summer

As spring arrives, adjust your watering schedule to allow longer intervals between waterings.

It’s also time to start fertilizing your poinsettias.

In June, take your beloved plants outdoors and find a spot that offers morning sunlight and afternoon shade.

This could be your patio or a cozy area under a tree. Additionally, consider repotting your poinsettias if their roots are cramped for space.

Choose a potting mix that promotes good drainage and contains growth-enhancing nutrients.

The new pot should be slightly larger and have drainage holes.

If fate (conditions) allows it, poinsettia can live outdoors for years
If fate (conditions) allows it, poinsettia can live outdoors for years

The Blossom’s Duration

With good care, a vibrant poinsettia can keep its flowers for two to three months.

Usually, these plants showcase their blooms for about four to six weeks before the flowers start to fade.

FAQs

How often should I water my poinsettia during the holidays?

Water your poinsettia when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Can I place my poinsettia in direct sunlight?

Yes, poinsettias prefer direct sunlight. Place them near a sunny window where they can receive plenty of light during the day.

Is it necessary to fertilize my poinsettia during the holiday season?

No, fertilizing is generally not required during the flowering period. Focus on maintaining proper watering and light conditions.

How can I make my poinsettia bloom again next year?

To induce re-blooming, expose your poinsettia to 12 hours of darkness daily for eight consecutive weeks, starting in early October. After this dark period, resume regular care.

Should I keep my poinsettia away from drafts during the holidays?

Yes, poinsettias are sensitive to drafts and temperature fluctuations. Place them in a location with consistent temperatures, avoiding cold drafts from windows and doors.

How long do poinsettias typically bloom?

With proper care, poinsettias can flower for two to three months. The typical bloom duration is around four to six weeks before the flowers start to fade.

Is it true that poinsettias are toxic?

Despite what many people commonly think, poinsettias aren’t highly toxic. If someone happens to ingest them, the most you might experience is some mild discomfort such as vomiting or diarrhea. However, the toxicity levels are quite low, and it’s rare for medical treatment to be needed.

Can I trim or prune my poinsettia during the holidays?

It’s generally advisable to avoid significant pruning during the holiday season. If needed, minor adjustments can be made after the flowering period.

What should I do if my poinsettia drops its leaves during the holidays?

Dropping leaves can be normal as the plant adjusts to indoor conditions. Ensure it’s not overwatered, and provide consistent light and temperature.

CBC reported in 2022 that a poinsettia has lived 26 years. It’s owner is Mr. Frankie Allison
CBC reported in 2022 that a poinsettia has lived 26 years. It’s owner is Mr. Frankie Allison

I believe this plant is so stunning and adding beauty to our houses when we decorate for the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas!

I wrote this poem with this inspiration:

“Embrace the Poinsettia’s crimson glow,

A floral hymn weaving Christmas tales.

It whispers of hope, birth, and the divine,

Each petal a stanza of celestial prose.

Upon the eve of Christmas Day, behold,

A bloom of crimson, radiant and bold.

The Poinsettia, in its festive attire,

Whispers of a tale, a celestial fire.

In winter’s chill, when all seems cold and drear,

The Poinsettia’s flames dispel the fear.

A gift of warmth, a beacon burning bright,

Reflecting Bethlehem’s celestial light.

As whispers of a newborn Savior’s breath,

The leaves unfold, transcending life and death.

Each scarlet leaf, a symbol to convey,

The essence of that manger where He lay.

Oh, Poinsettia, messenger profound,

Your crimson hues, a mystery unbound.

In every petal, a tale unfolds,

Of Christ, the Shepherd, and the love He holds.

So, on this day, with hearts sincere and true,

We gaze upon this flower, born anew.

A Christmas carol in each leaf displayed,

Proclaiming love that never will fade.”

Final Thoughts

May our poinsettia manage to live as long!
May our poinsettia manage to live as long!

So there you have it, my little poetic ode and some good ol’ reliable advice to keep your poinsettias happy during the festive vibes.

Take these nuggets of wisdom, and you’ll be like a poinsettia whisperer, creating the perfect haven for them to bloom and spread the cheer in your home.

May your gardening days be merry and bright, not just for this holiday season but for many more to come.

Happy gardening, my green-thumbed friend!