If you’re like most people, you buy a couple of poinsettias in the weeks running up to Christmas — and plop them as-is (in red metallic-wrapped potters) in strategic spots around your home.
Of course, you enjoy the festive spirit they add to your decor. But when the season ends, so do your poinsettias. Out with the discarded gift wrap and uneaten fruitcake they go — straight into the trash.
But poinsettias are actually a houseplant that can last for a number of years, although they may be easier for experienced plant people to handle. If you’d like your poinsettia to thrive beyond the holiday season, consider the following poinsettia care tips.
First, place your poinsettia in a semi-sunny window where it can bathe in six to eight hours of sunlight — preferably from the south, east, or west — per day. But make sure it’s not direct sunlight, as that can scorch the plant’s edges.
“Fold the edges of the foil wrapper (if present) down, allowing light to reach all parts of the plant,” gardening expert Melinda Myers told Martha Stewart.
Like most house plants, poinsettias need to be watered regularly. But only quench its thirst when the soil is noticeably dry—which can be anywhere from once a day to once every three days.
“For a pot with a diameter of 5 inches, give it no more than a small glass of water,” Dr. Susanne Lux, international campaign coordinator at poinsettia grower collective Stars for Europe, told Homes and Gardens. ‘‘If in doubt, it’s better to keep these plants a little more dry than moist and to water them little and often, rather than rarely but in great quantity.”
Poinsettias are also finicky about temperature. Not too hot, and not too cold, please!
“We recommend keeping them in indoor temperatures between 65 to 70 degrees, making sure not to expose them to temperatures below 55 degrees,” Kelly Brown, cofounder of deVINE Plantery, told House Beautiful.
If you’d like your poinsettias to rebloom next year, continue to care for them in a sunny window until fall; then give them eight weeks of bright days and long, dark nights.
“Starting at the end of September, give the plants 14 hours of uninterrupted dark each night and bright light during the day,” Meyers told Martha Stewart.
You’ll want to shield the plants from all light sources and cover them or place them in a closet, then keep temperatures at night around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this routine up for about two months. Once the leaves start showing color, return to caring for your flowers as you always have.
And keep in mind that this is a low-stakes endeavor. Poinsettias are fairly inexpensive, so you can always pick up a new one next year!
How to help your poinsettia thrive beyond the holidays originally appeared on Simplemost.com, helping make the most out of life.