- 10.11.2021 /
As one of the world’s most popular plants, with tens of millions sold around Europe each year, the proper care of poinsettias is a serious matter for plant parents all around the continent according to leading experts, Stars for Europe.
Whilst poinsettias are renowned for making wonderful festive displays, they also have a reputation for being a little tricky to care for, but forewarned is forearmed! With our handy guide you can ensure these perfect little Flowers of the Holy Night – as they’re known in their native Mexico – survive long past twelfth night.
You wouldn’t expect a thin-skinned prize pooch to brave the wilds of winter without a coat and a similar attitude should be adopted towards your poinsettias, which hate nothing more than a cold draught.
The golden rule for poinsettias is don’t let them get too cold. They must be kept at a minimum temperature of 15-22 degrees Celsius and protected from both cold draughts and strong direct sunlight, preferring a warm, sheltered spot with light.
These sensitive plants can easily be damaged during transportation from garden centre or florist to home, so ensure they are properly wrapped in paper at the shop – without leaving any foliage exposed to the elements. You would ideally put inside a bag for safe measure. This is very important!
Even a few minutes of exposure to drought or cold air – especially an Artic plast in the depth of winter – can terminally damage the leaves, which must be kept well sheltered at all times.
Light and Shade
Don’t put your plant baby in a shadowy corner. Poinsettias prefer a light spot rather than full shade, and the usual advice is to keep plants out of direct sunlight to protect their leaves from burning, but in winter this shouldn’t be a problem.
Water and Nutrition
Poinsettias need soil within an optimum ph range of 5.8 to 6.2, using three parts soil to one part grit so plenty of oxygen can reach the roots. Most poinsettias don’t need repotting over winter, so you can safely keep it in the pot you bought it in.
They must not be over-watered and left in soggy soil. This is a crime against poinsettias almost (although not quite) on a par with blasting them with cold air. You should allow compost to just start drying out before giving your plant light watering, taking care not to soak it.
Overwatering can cause poinsettias to be blighted by grey mould and also makes them vulnerable to attack from common pests like mealybugs and scale insects.
Poinsettias do like humid conditions, so keep them misted if there’s a danger of them gasping for moisture in rooms where the central heating is on full blast.
Newly purchased poinsettias do not require fertilizing during the flowering period, because they are usually sold in pre-fertilized soil. If fertilizing is required, for example if they are re-potted or if they are kept for longer, they like to be fed monthly with a high potassium, low nitrogen fertilizer.