You have seen it everywhere. In the florist’s, in the street planters. In the house of a friend who loves gardening.
It is an unmistakable plant with its red leaves. Poinsettia is the Christmas plant in Spain and in many countries around the world.
Poinsetti has a reputation for being difficult to care. Many people believe that it survives just one year. Actually, the only thing that this plant needs is specific but very simple cares.
For your poinsettia to have red leaves again every Christmas, you don't have to be an expert gardener. You just have to follow the steps that we are telling you in this article.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading!
What is poinsettia?
Poinsettia is a plant native to Mexico. But its impressive red color has made it spread throughout the world.
The leaves that give colour to the Poinsettia are actually bracts. That is, leaves that are born to protect flowers or inflorescences.
It is widely used as an indoor plant during the cold season. It is often seen in centerpieces.
The variety of poinsettia we know best is that of red leaves. However, there are also white, pink, yellow or even purple varieties.
It is a plant of tropical origin, so it can not withstand the cold. From spring we can sow it as an outdoor plant.
Poinsettia needs to be kept indoors when temperatures drop below 15ºC. With these simple cares your poinsettia will stay healthy throught the winter.
Moderate the irrigation
Poinsettia needs the substrate to be always wet. But be careful with watering the roots, or they could rot.
The best option is immersion or capillary irrigation. Dip the pot in a bowl with water and leave it for ten or fifteen minutes. Then let it drain to release excess water. Make sure there is no water left in the pot dish.
If you want your Poinsettia to stay healthy for a longer time, there is a very simple trick: Let the irrigation water rest in a bowl 24 hours before using it. This will evaporate all the chlorine.
Avoid air currents
Poinsettia does not get along with air currents. Avoid putting it near the heater or a radiator.
If you turn on the heating often, spray the poinsettia leaves with water to prevent them from drying out.
Many hours of light
Poinsettia needs to receive several hours of daylight. Place it near a window or in a sunny room, where it receives indirect light.
Remove the withered leaves
Over time, some poinsettia leaves may wilt. Nothing happens as long as they are few. Remove them so that the plant maintains its full vigor.
How to make poinsettia recover red leaves
The Poinsettia bracts only remain red for a few months.
During the winter, the plant loses all its leaves and bracts. When they rebound, in spring, they are born green. But with a simple trick, you will get the leaves to regain their color.
All you need is to keep it dark.
Yes, as you read it. The secret for poinsettia to have its colored bracts again in the following year is to keep it away from the light for about 14 hours a day.
What we are doing is creating an "artificial night." Do it between September and November, and by December the plant will have regained all its color.
How can you do it? Very easy. Only cover the plant with a very opaque garbage bag, or with a foil bell. Another option is to put it in a closet.
It doesn't have to be at a specific time of day. You can do it from seven in the afternoon to nine in the morning, for example. This way you will make sure the darkness is total.
Do it like this for a couple of months and you will see how color spots begin to appear.
But remember! For the rest of the day, the plant needs to continue receiving its daylight hours.
To develop a more vivid color, remember to prune the weakest branches and keep it at a temperature of about 20 ° C.
Few people know it, but in reality poinsettia is a deciduous plant. In winter it is usual to lose all its leaves. If the branches remain green, you don't have to worry, because they will rebound in spring.
The Poinsettia is actually a very rustic plant that hardly needs care. With these simple maintenance tips it will stay healthy throughout the year.
Pruning of poinsettia
In spring it is advisable to prune the poinsettia. Do it between March and April, after the flowering period.
In this pruning, cut the branches to a length of between 4 and 10 centimeters. Always leave a centimeter above the leaf or the yolk.
As the heat might be coming, it is a good idea to cover the cuts with a healing product. This way you make sure that the fungi do not infect the cuts.
Many times we are in a hurry to transplant the Poinsettia. We want to do it as soon as we buy it, because we think that it will grow healthier.
Actually, it is not necessary. We can have it all winter in the same pot, and leave the transplant for spring.
After pruning, pass your poinsettia to a new pot. Renew the substrate and add some fertilizer. Thus, the plant will grow with a lot of energy and will be ready to develop its red bracts when winter comes.
Poinsettia as an outdoor plant
When winter has passed, you can decide if you want to grow your poinsettia as an indoor or outdoor plant.
If you grow it in the garden, you must follow these steps to keep it healthy.
Protect it from wind and cold
The stalks of the Poinsettia are fragile. Although you can live outside, it is best to keep it near a wall or a fence. This will prevent the wind from damaging it.
Remember also that this plant does not resist frost. Be sure to take it out when winter is over.
If you decide to plant it in the garden, make sure that the substrate is porous and has good drainage. An excess of moisture in the roots would be harmful to the plant.
Protect it from pests
Indoor, the Poinsettia does not usually suffer from diseases. But when we have it in the garden, we must be careful with pests.
The ones that most often affect this plant are the white fly, the red spider and the mites. Protect it with a systemic insecticide and acaricide during the hottest months.
If you have doubts about how to take care of your poinsettia and how to have it red bracts again next year, contact us. We are here to help you.