Christmas season. We only get one chance a year to celebrate eggnog, ugly seasonal sweaters (thank goodness), candy canes, Mistletoe, gingerbread houses and of course, Poinsettias.
These colourful plants are so synonymous with Christmas that we can’t help but whistle Jingle Bells when they start showing up in stores. Gone are the days when you had three (maybe four?) choices for your Poinsettia colour. Red, white, pink and striped have been joined by green, blue, peach and glittered; just to name a few. There’s one to match everyone’s seasonal home decor, no matter what your style.
But what about taking care of them? Don’t worry, we give like Santa when it comes to plant care advice!
The Poinsettia Christmas Tradition You Can’t Avoid
We know you can’t help yourself. You load a few gorgeous Poinsettias into your basket, marvelling at the colours and completely enchanted by the Christmas spirit. But as you’re unloading them from the car you suddenly have a flashback of previous years' Poinsettia fiasco, featuring a carpet of fallen leaves, dead branches and limp plants.
Fear strikes as you try to figure out just where to put your new plants so they won’t die (at least not until after all your guests have left). They seem like such delicate plants…
No, not Hawaii actually. The Poinsettia was first introduced from Mexico. That means that the first thing you should remember is that Poinsettias are tropical plants.
Unlike hardy fern or ivy, the Poinsettia enjoys warmer temperatures. Keep the room between 18’C and 24’C to keep them happy. However, placing them beside the heating vent won’t keep them happy either, as Poinsettias hate any kind of draft. This means no heating or fan vents, not close to a window, and definitely not in the direct path of a door that opens frequently.
Humidity is a Poinsettia’s best friend. Placing them in groups, or in a room with a humidifier, is the best option to keep them as gorgeous as possible. You can also leave a saucer filled with pebbles and water nearby, to add moisture to the area as it evaporates.
Because the Poinsettia is tropical, it loves the sunshine. Find a bright spot in your home, with indirect sunlight, that isn’t too close to a window. (At least two feet away is a good start).
Dreaming of a Wet Christmas...
Don’t be scared, but you do have to water your Poinsettia. I know that the very thought of figuring out how much water your Poinsettia needs can strike fear into anyone’s heart. The rumours of how easy it is to kill this plant with over or under watering have been spread far and wide. However it’s not that bad, trust me.
Poinsettias need lots of water. They like to be thoroughly watered, until it flows out of the bottom of the pot, and then left alone until the top inch of soil is dry again.
The trick though, is not to let them sit in water filled saucers or pots, because their roots will rot. You must provide drainage for your Poinsettia (don’t leave it in the decorative plastic wrap where the water creates an ocean around the base of the plant) in order to keep it happy. Also, do not fertilize your Poinsettia while it is blooming.
Don’t worry about writing Santa for a new Poinsettia for Christmas, we’ve got you covered. If you find your Poinsettia is dropping leaves, despite your best efforts, don’t worry there’s always something you can try.
The most common reason is a shock to its system, such as a change in temperature or light. Did you move it recently? Have you left a window open? Look for drafts, temperature changes or not enough light (maybe you set up your Christmas tree and now it’s blocking the window?)
Another reason this happens is because the Poinsettia is too thirsty and not getting enough water. When the soil gets dry and cracked, this is a sure sign that the plant needs a more regular watering schedule.
How to WOW with your Poinsettias...
Poinsettias are versatile plants that can fit into your Christmas home by choosing the right colour or size of plant. Here are a few of our favourite 3 ideas for incorporating the Poinsettia into your seasonal home decor
(1) Don’t stop with just one. A lone Poinsettia can certainly be a focal point, but even better is a crowd of these beautiful plants. Varying the colours, so that they contrast each other is a great ideas as well. White and dark red shades together, or purple and cream in a grouping, are two ideas we like. Fill the mantel, or your fireplace if it’s not being used, with Poinsettia plants. If your tree has space, try filling the space underneath it with a bright circle of these colourful plants.
(2) On the table. The small 4’ Poinsettias can seem a bit homely on their own. However, give them a cute mini pot or wrap their pots in a fabric or burlap design, and they suddenly become incredibly cute. Place one at each person’s place setting for a festive decoration that your guests can also take home.
(3) Kokedama Poinsettias! Make your plant into an all natural decoration this season by wrapping the roots in a moss ball that can be easily taken care of and keeps it simple. Not sure how? Take a look at the DIY video we've put together. These can then be used in vases, lanterns and other Christmas displays, without worrying about hiding a pot.See more ideas for decorating with Poinsettias this year on our Pretty Poinsettia Pinboard on Pinterest.