How to Keep Your Poinsettias Alive Until Christmas

How to Keep Your Poinsettias Alive Until Christmas
Photo: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Bright red poinsettias are popular holiday-season decor, and like a lot of plants, have particular preferences when it comes to placement in your home. To help your flowers survive and thrive throughout the season — especially if plant care isn’t your jam — make sure you know how much water, sunlight, and heat your poinsettias need.

Where to place your poinsettias

First and foremost, do not keep your poinsettias in your windowsills or out on your front porch, no matter how much you want passers-by to see them. Native to Mexico, poinsettias thrive in more tropical environments and do not do well in cold and drafty spaces.

Instead, place your poinsettias in an area with temperatures between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius during the day and 15 to 18 degrees at night — definitely no colder than 12 degrees. Avoid any extreme temps by keeping them away from heating vents and appliances, as well as doors to the outside. The space should also get at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day.

Poinsettias aren’t healthy for pets to ingest, so find a place out of their reach if your critters tend to eat plants.

How much water does a poinsettia need?

Poinsettias prefer moist soil — not soaked and not dry. When the soil is dry to the touch, or when you lift the plant and it feels light, saturate the soil with room temperature water and allow it to drain. A small glass of water is usually enough for a standard poinsettia. You can also soak the plant from a dish below.

The ideal frequency of watering depends on how warm and dry your space is, so you may want to check the soil every day until you figure out a routine. Generally, soil that’s a little dry is better than soil that is overly drenched. Misting the plant in between waterings can be helpful if your home’s heat often runs on high.

What to do with poinsettias after the holidays

Decorating with poinsettias doesn’t have to be limited to the holiday season. Once the blooms drop, cut back watering to once a week, and prune plants in early spring (September or October). Continue following recommendations for temperature and sunlight. Repot your poinsettias in May, and store them in a cool, bright place for the summer.

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