- Never buy a poinsettia found next to a set of automatic doors that open every 30 seconds because it will have been damaged by the exposure to drafts or temperatures below 50°F which will cause the poinsettia to drop its leaves soon after being brought home.
- A healthy poinsettia plant will have intact bracts. If the little yellow buds between the colored bracts – the actual flowers – still look tight then you’ll know that the quality of the poinsettia plant is good.
- If possible, check the soil before buying. It should be neither dripping wet nor totally dry, so you know it’s probably had proper care.
- Finally, when you’ve chosen and bought your poinsettia, make sure to wrap it up in paper for the journey home to protect it from wind and cold.
- Poinsettias need warmth and light. Try to place poinsettias in a sheltered spot. Remove the foil wrapping or at least punch holes in the bottom for drainage.
- A temperature of between 60 and 72 degrees is ideal. Sufficient light is important for the plant to grow and thrive, and in the winter months, it is happy by a south-facing window.
Watering a poinsettia plant
- Poinsettias don’t like a lot of water. Always remember that it should neither dry out nor be drenched. You should water your poinsettia plant when the soil is noticeably dry. How to check? Carefully lift up the plant; if it feels light, it’s time to water. Poinsettias prefer room-temperature water Remove any excess water that is still in the planter after 10 minutes.
- If in doubt, it’s better to keep poinsettias a little drier (rather than too moist) and to water them little and often, rather than rarely but in great quantity. Poinsettias are particularly long-lasting when they are fertilized once a week from about four weeks after purchase.
Poinsettias after Christmas
- To ensure it survives until next year, you will need to prune the poinsettia in April, to about 4 in. and keep it at 55°. Repot in May and grow it in a cool and light place over summer.
- When November comes around, it is time to start forcing the plant. It will require 12 hours of bright daylight followed by 12 hours of complete darkness to alert it to the shorter days of winter, which will encourage the red flowers to flourish.