February 11, 2009

It just goes to sleep right now! How to take care about poinsettia now?

My sweet poinsettias are not looking ugly yet, however they do loose leaves one after another. In previous years I was thinking that I don't know how to take care of them and this is why its happening, but today I know that it falls slowly in dormancy period!

Maybe you also have poinsettia right now, that doesn't look that well as you would like. Maybe you also think that you don't know how to take care of it and put all blame on yourself?
Maybe you could consider to not throw it away to compost heap?

This is Nature of Poinsettia - after blooming (these yellow tiny flowers on the top) poinsettia needs rest.
It is falling to that state slowly - all healthy leaves are becoming yellow and they fall, until only the colored ones will remain on the top. This is the time, when you should cut the stems at about 15-20 cm from soil - fresh stems will grow there after the plant will wake up.

Reduce watering – soil can dry up this time, although plant prefers moist conditions.
You may offer this plant lower temperature about 10-14 degrees C, but this is not necessary. Just colder windowsill will be good. The plant need a lot of light still.

In March/April - when plant is about to start to slow wake-up, take it out of existing pot and shake off whole soil (or whatever they put there - I call it soil here, but probably you also have kind of subtratum).

Transplant your poinsettia to the same pot, but full with fresh soil. Transplanting to larger pot will cause plant's larger vegetative growth, but it harder will be to get coloured leaves at the top. Add fertilizer every 2 weeks.

As result, anyway, you will get the plant which will be larger from previous size and those available in the shop, because manufacturers use special repressing growth substances, so plant is more compact. If you want to make it also more compact, use this special technique of pruning, that will keep it more compact. On the beginning of July prune every new stem about 2 cm. In August, cut off all new growth about 1-2 cm.

Poinsettia neeeds "short day" (10 hours of light a day) in order to grow coloured leaves. The night has to last at least 14 hours – even the tiny bit of light during dark hours will cause lack of colour.
One and a half month before appointed deadline, when you want to have coloured plant you may start to artificially darken the plant. You may close it in a wardrobe, cover with cardboard box. Choose the easiest way, because you will be doing this for 6 weeks.
If it don't do it, your poinsettia will get naturally color mid of January. Practically whole December and whole January day lasts shorter than 10 hours, so mid of January the leaflets will start to change color.

How to take care of poinsettia?
1. Keep her safe from cold air.
2. Draughts is killing the plant.
3. In sunny place.
4. Provide moist to the soil constantly. Manufacturers usually use very quickly drying up basis unfortunately, therefore it is difficult to keep th eplant moist all the tome. Ponsettia also can not be standing in water, soil should be only moist.
5. Do not cut flowers (these tiny yellow on top), because they are necessary to get coloured leaves.
6. In period of blooming add fertilizer every weeks.

I saw poinsettia growing indoor in the summer - it looked so beautiful to me - this is why I decided to keep mine and properly take care if it entire year.

What about you? Do you still have poinsettia around? Will you give it a chance?


Anonymous said...

Ewa, pointsettias can be planted outside here where I live and can grow to be quite large. However, I have found when purchasing these plants that they are really only rooted cuttings and not full grown plants as they appear to be. I think the nursery trade wants us to just dispose of them after the holidays. I do try to hang on to mine for a while, but I think the reason they look so bad after a while is because their root system is undeveloped. Good luck with yours.

Always Growing

Minerva said...

There is a magnificent poinsetia bush in one of the garden in the neighborhood (in Puerto Rico), leaning over a fence, right now overloaded with flowers. It is not a stately tree, yet, like I had in front of my window in Spain, but its abundance of flowers is hard to beat.
My daughter has no green thumb, but she does well with her potted poinsetias, moving them to her balcony in March (after the last frost). Then in the fall I need - at the beginning - to send her daily emails to cover the poor thing with a tarp every night and uncover every morning, and after a month she continues that routine without my nudging.

Rose said...

Thanks for the tips, Ewa! My poinsettia is still looking pretty good, but a few leaves are beginning to drop. I've tried to keep them for the next season before, but never had any luck. I might try it again, but follow your instructions this time.

Unknown said...

Nope. I left mine to go to sleep, and then sent it to the great compost heap in the sky. They're just too annoying once they start dropping their leaves and bracts, so I just let them go. Mind you, if I had a real big one, like some I've seen, I'd make much more of an effort to nurture it through the months needed to bring it around to bloom the next year.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi Ewa, I have a very different way of looking after my poinsettias: I throw them on the compost heap as soon as the generous giver has left.

I just don't like them and they are poisonous too and I don't want them anywhere near my cats.

But you've written an excellent tutorial for those who do like them. :-)

Balisha said...

Hi Ewa,
I am going to give it a try. We should all post pictures of our results later in the year.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ewa, I have finally resolved and come to peace with the fact that pointsettias are plants that want to live in very warm climates. I saw some really big ones outside somewhere like Los Angeles or Florida (can't remember exactly where). I remember immediately understanding why they don't belong where I live in N.CA. I always have mixed feeling when I buy them at Christmastime, but, really, why? Because they have a ROOT? If they were cut flowers I'd toss them when they died without a second thought. So I rather put them in that category. This year I spent $ on a white orchid and an amarillis and someone gifted me paperwhites at Christmas. I think these are a better investment than the multitude of pointsettias that really are doomed in cold climates.

Barbara said...

I just saw today that my only remaining poinsettia, a white one, has been without water for quite a while (I am not a perfect indoor gardener, I confess!). I was not quite sure whether I shall continue to have this plant any longer. But now, when seeing your advices, I think I'll give them a try (and me as a indoor gardener too) :-) !!