Were you given a Poinsettia over the holidays? What you should know is that the Poinsettia, in spite of what you may think, can survive throughout the year, to flourish again as splendid as before. The important thing, of course, is to take care of it in the right way: in this article we’ll explain how to go about it!
Place your plant away from heat sources (fireplace, stove, or heater) and from areas prone to draughts or through currents (in front of windows and doors leading directly outside).
The Poinsettia needs lots of light, but not direct light.
Water it only as much as necessary to keep the soil moist. Once or twice a week will suffice if your house is very humid (daily if the air is dry).
Remove all dry leaves as you go.
By the time the days start warming up all the leaves will have fallen: at this point cut the branches, under their graft (about 12-15cm from the ground). The plant may look dead, but it isn’t! Be aware of sap seeping out from pruned branches, as it may be irritating to sensitive skin. You can stem it naturally with a little wood ash or by gently wiping with a microfiber cloth and warm water.
Re-pot the plant into a new clean, larger container and place it outside. As during the winter, water it just enough to keep the soil slightly moist.
If it struggles to flower, give it a helping hand in late summer with a liquid fertilizer, usually phosphorus and potassium-based is best.
When the temperatures start to drop again, re-pot your Poinsettia into a clean indoor pot, and bring it back indoors. Don’t forget to place it in a well-lit but shady place away from direct light to allow the green leaves of summer to turn bright red again.
What to do if you Poinsettia gets “attached by a virus or parasites”
If the leaves begin to fall off in quick succession or you notice grey spots, unfortunately there is nothing much you can do: throw away the plant, the soil and thoroughly wash the pot to remove any residue.
If, on the other hand, you notice aphids, scaly insects or any other types, remove them manually (a cottonwool ball soaked in water works well), cut off the leaves that have been damaged and spray the plant with a pesticide. It’s also a good idea to give all external parts of the pot a thorough clean.
One last piece of advice? Check the plant often, during spring; it is important that water doesn’t stagnate in the saucer and that no moss or stains form on the soil. But above all, don’t be discouraged if it looks “asleep” for many months: it’s just resting before flourishing again!