Due to the 58th Presidential Inauguration, the U.S. Botanic Garden will be closed January 18-21, 2017. We will reopen at 10 a.m. on January 22.
Poinsettias (Euphobia pulcherrima) are popular houseplants at this time of year because they flower mid-winter. They are naturally found in warm climates, and do not like harsh winter temperatures. With proper care, a poinsettia can last throughout the holiday season.
Unwrap poinsettias. Take the pretty foil or plastic wrap off of the poinsettia pot. This decorative wrapping holds water in the container, instead of allowing for drainage. Poinsettias should not be left in standing water.
Let in the light. Choose a window that provides bright light, out of direct sun. A south, east or west facing window is preferred. Avoid drafty windows and keep the plant far enough from the window so that it does not touch a cold windowpane. Also, warm, dry air will dehydrate the poinsettia's roots too fast, so keep plants away from heat registers.
Examine soil daily. A common mistake is to keep the soil too wet, which allows the perfect opportunity for fungi to start to rot the roots. Let the soil dry out between watering. When a poinsettia's leaves start to droop, it is too dry.
Water, please. Conditions with high light and low humidity require more frequent watering. When the soil surface is dry to the touch, place the plant in the sink and let the water gently fill to the top until it runs freely out the drainage hole in the container. Drain well, so that the plant is not in standing water.
Some gardeners want to save their poinsettias to re-bloom the next winter. Get more detailed information in Poinsettias: Year after Year.
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