Poinsettia Care Euphorbia pulcherrima (Easter Flower)
It is possible to get Poinsettia plant to survive after Christmas. We will now describe its needs so that this red leaf plant stays healthy for the rest of the year and flowers again at Christmas .
Once the flowering is over, we will see its bracts disappear, the red leaves fall , but this is part of the natural process of the Christmas plant, as the bracts protect the flowers. Missing these, the Poinsettia no longer needs them. There are those who throw them then thinking that they are dying. Do not do it, the Poinsettia is a living being that can survive and grow until the following December, when it will bloom again. But for this you need some care, like all plants. What are they? What should we do from the fall of the red leaves ?
General care of the Poinsettia
Its red leaves, which can be white, yellow or salmon, are not leaves, but bracts , which are those leaves whose mission is not photosynthesis, but to protect the flowers (like those of the bougainvillea). And those flowers are small and yellow.
It can become a shrub up to 5 m. Tall.
The problem with the poisentias is that, although they can be grown indoors, their most suitable habitat would be outdoors, since they need a lot of light when it is in bloom and a stable climate , without frost, without high temperatures or heating.
But we can also get her to survive at home, indoors, attending to some of his requirements:
When buying it:
- He does not like temperature changes , so if you’re going to have it inside, better not buy it in a store or place where it is exposed on the street or outside, but in a place where they already have it. inside. The same in reverse, if you are going to have it outside, that is not exposed in a warmer place.
- It is convenient to protect it in the store with a plastic so that it does not affect the lowest temperature of the journey to your home. Yes, it is delicate, but it is about guaranteeing its survival and these initial changes in temperature may be enough to prevent it from achieving it.
- When buying it, look at the yellow flowers : That there are not many already open. The more there are, the shorter the life span of their bracts.
- Inspect its stems and leaves . That there are no broken or rotten stems or spots on the leaves.
- Inspect your base. Move your trunk a little : it should be firm, not loose in the substrate.
- It needs natural light . The darkness makes the leaves fall. Do not expose it to the direct sun either.
- Move it away from the air streams and air currents .
- Both cold and high temperatures cause the leaves to fall. Its ideal temperature is 22º during the day and 16º during the night. It is not convenient to go up from 25º or lower from 10º.
- He hates heating to death. It needs a high humidity . If the environment is dry, leaves fall. If you are going to have the heating on (because it is Christmas and it is cold), move it away from the warmest point, that does not give direct heat and that the temperature of the room does not exceed 25º. Put a plate or bowl in the base of the pot, with water and some stones, so that the base of the pot and the roots do not come into direct contact with the water. This will provide moisture.
- If the heating is constant and / or high, you can spray the leaves (but only in that case, otherwise you run the risk of becoming infected with fungi), only the green leaves, not the bracts. If you spray the red leaves, they will stain and lose that beautiful Christmas aspect.
- Water it by immersion, putting the plant in a bowl or dish with water (that is not very cold, or of course hot, because of the changes in temperature, come to room temperature) you leave it for 15 minutes and remove the water that does not I have absorbed.
- Allow the substrate to dry a little before re-watering it, as excess water can rot the root. It usually requires a couple of waterings per week at most.
Regarding the direct sun , during winter and spring, it can resist exposure to sunlight. In summer and autumn, we will avoid it.
After flowering, Poinsettia will need us to add a little liquid fertilizer to its irrigation water. It can be a universal fertilizer or a slow release fertilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding quantities. Once every 10 days is enough.
Once they have fallen their red leaves, if you have available land, the ideal would be to transplant it to the garden .
But if you live in an area where there are frosts, or you do not have land, you can also keep it inside , observing the general care and previously making a pruning and wait for spring.
Pruning of the Poinsettia
Do you see those yellow leaves? They are from last year, but they can be seen again every year.
At the end of January, the Poinsettia plant will have run out of leaves (red and green). That’s when you should prune it. In some fortunate homes, observing the general care, the green leaves are maintained and there are even those who claim to have kept the red ones for months.
In any case, we will prune it when it has run out of leaves.
To do this, cut the stems, leaving them at about 10 cm. of height . Gloves should be worn because the sap is irritating to skin and mucous membranes.
Once cut, seal the end with melted candle wax.
Rest of the Poinsettia
In this state we will leave the Christmas plant at rest during the winter . Preferably, in a place free of heating.
Do not forget that, even if it is at rest, it still needs irrigation . But limit it to once a week.
Transplant of the Poinsettia plant
When spring arrives , we will transplant it to a larger pot, placing as substrate a mixture of universal substrate, a part of peat or humus and a part of sand. In this time and in this new situation, providing good natural lighting and an average temperature of the order of 20 °, the poinsettia will emit new shoots. The growth of these shoots will be continuous, producing a good leaf development during the summer and autumn. This development will be favored if, in addition to watering, we seek to provide adequate fertilization periodically.
The Poinsettia plant returns to bloom in December , and it is then that it begins to fill again with bracts (red leaves) but for that it needs a daily period of between 12 and 14 hours of total darkness from the end of September or, at the most, , beginning of October.
If at home we can not have it in a room that has those hours without light, and we want to have our plant ready with its Christmas aspect, we can artificially create the darkness it needs.
To do this, simply cover it with a dark plastic, with a thick cardboard or with a protective hood covered with aluminum foil, during the evening to achieve those 14 hours without light.
If we do not, the Poinsettia will grow, but it will not bloom . We will have a Christmas plant with green leaves, but not red.
Well that’s all for now. It’s delicate, but it’s really worth taking care of. Keep in mind that the plant is trying to survive in an adverse environment. Just help her a little to get her alive all year long. The bracts only come out in December, so, with a little care, at Christmas it will bloom again.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.