Taking care of a poinsettia

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Poinsettia is that nice flower in the shape of a star that blooms for Christmas. Ii is also called the Christmas Flower or Christmas Symbol or the Lucky Flower of Christmas… everyone calles it in many ways, the important thing is that we know which flower we’re talking about.

Now, don’t think I hit my head, I won’t be writing any late holiday message.
I’ll just try and make a small guide of how to keep a poinsettia alive after the holidays.

I didn’t know flowers bloomed for Christmas until a few years back when I saw many many poinsettias in the local store I do the shopping from. Of course I thought they were made of plastic so I moved on.

white poinsettia

Last year my sister got a poinsettia as a gift. We grew up with flowers and apartment plants so she thought taking care of it wasn’t a big deal. It died. Then my mom got one. This one only “almost died” so we figured out this poinsettia is no ordinary plant, it needs special attention.

This Christmas I got one for myself. I thought why not use this resourceful internet to see how I can grow one and not let it die and if it does, no harm done (it was a sale, I only paied a few of bucks for it).

So, gathering information from every corner possible, I managed to keep my beautiful poinsettia alive even after Christmas. If it didn’t wither until now I must be doing something good.

First things first: buying it is easy, but where to keep it in your home?
Poinsettias need light just like any other flowers and plants, but not direct ones. So, wherever you want to put your poinsetia, do not place it in direct sunlight or in rooms where you keep the lights on often. “She” doesn’t like this, and to show it, the leaves will start to wither.
I put mine under a window, where the sun doesn’t shine that much.

Also, don’t ever put it near the radiator or fireplace or any other source of heat. Since it blossoms in winter it doesn’t like heat that much. Anywhere in the range of 65-70 degrees F is fine (about 20 degrees C).

Now that you found a nice spot for the flower, you have to start watering it.
Poinsettia likes humidity so the soil has to be moist, but not dripping wet. So, if you water it every 2-3 days it should be fine. Use water at room temperature, not cold or hot water.

When winter passes, these flowers can easily die, because they like the cold season. So, if you move it outside, find a place in the shade. If you leave it inside, find a cool place. Keep it at 60 degrees F and out of direct sunlight and you’ll have no worries. Watering it will be even more easier, you can now water it less than before (1-2 times a week is ok).

Now you have a nice green appartment plant. A nice decoration easy to take care of.

If you would like it to bloom again for the next Christmas, you’ll have to cut the steams back a few inches to stimulate growth just before summer (late april or may) and begin to fertilize every 2 weeks (folowing the instructions of the fertilizer).

Poinsettias need about 10-11 weeks to bloom, so at the begining of October you can start the “real work”. Keep fertilizing and watering the plant but make room in your closet. Move the plant in your closet each night for 12-14 hours. It needs to stay in the dark to bloom. Yes, it’s strange, I did say poinsettias need special attention. In the morning, move it back in your window and let it enjoy some light. Keep doing this until the begining of December, then stop fertilizing it and leave it in the window as you did the year before.
Just water it and enjoy your plant.

red poinsettia

If the treatment doesn’t go well, don’t wory. It’s difficult to keep the plant alive for the whole year as it does needs special care. However, kudos to those who succeed and have the patience to make it bloom again.

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