What is not to love about a gorgeous vivid red poinsettia? Well, until you get a handle on these simple rules, you might not love them… Good news – it’s not all that hard to enjoy these beautiful blooming bushes if you just take care. Here are my four simple rules for you:
1. Pick the right plant.
Look for plants that have tightly-closed tiny yellow flowers in the middle. They should be greenish. As they open they turn yellow, which indicates that the plant has been in bloom for a while and may not last as long in your home. Avoid any that are shedding pollen. That plant is past its prime.
2. Protect your plant on the trip home.
Cover your plant when bringing it home, especially if it’s below 40°F. Most nurseries will provide a plastic sleeve, but if they did not, you can cover it with a bag. And don’t let it sit in the chilly car while you run errands!
3. Give your poinsettia a sunny window.
Poinsettias are tropical so they love light and will tolerate full sun. But they’ll put up with almost any kind of light. You can put them wherever you like to enjoy a splash of color. In a very dark corner, however, they tend to stretch and become leggy.
4. Keep your poinsettia well watered.
Poinsettias prefer consistent, light moisture. Add a cup or so of water to the soil every two to three days, then feel the pot’s weight—which is a better indication of when to water the next time. Dump out any water that sits in the saucer or foil cover.
The biggest mistake people make is that they let them dry out for a day or so. In that case, the plant will begin dropping leaves to try to save its root system. If that happens, there’s no going back… your plant isn’t going to recover this year, so compost it and buy a new one!