Poinsettia flowers, typically associated with Christmas, represent one of the most popular winter potted plants. Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) get their name from Joel Poinsett, who first introduced the plant to the United States. Most poinsettias are a deep red color, but some varieties are white, pink or speckled. Potted poinsettias typically last 2 to 4 weeks, although taking good care of your poinsettias can extend their life to 6 to 8 weeks. You can also care for poinsettias so they will flower again next year, although your flowers probably won't be attractive as professionally grown poinsettias.
Holiday Poinsettia Care
Place poinsettias in a sunny location in a room kept between 60 to 70 degrees. Indirect sunlight is better than direct sunlight. Do not place plants near heat or drafts, such as near heating vents or by the door. Check the soil moisture daily and water thoroughly when the soil feels dry. Drain excess water to prevent root damage. Consider moving poinsettias to a special location for parties and special events and then returning the plant to its storage location afterward.
If you want to care for your poinsettias all year, start fertilizing the plants every 2 to 3 weeks in the spring, using a fertilizer designed for flowering plants. Trim the remaining stems to 3 to 6 inches in May. If necessary, repot the plants, using high-quality potting soil. Move poinsettias to a partial shade location once outside temperatures consistently stay above 60 degrees. Pinch the poinsettia stems, or cut the upper inch of growth off, once in July and once in August. Take the plants back inside once the weather becomes cool.
If you want your poinsettias to flower again during the holidays, you have to manipulate the amount of light they receive. Starting in early October, make sure your poinsettias receive no more than 10 hours of light per day. The plants must be kept in complete darkness for the rest of the day.