Pretty Pointsettias

In Blog, Feature, Houseplants, Winter by Megan Nichols

‘Tis the season for pretty poinsettias! Fitting, then, that National Poinsettia Day is December 12th and has been so named to commemorate the death of Joel Robert Poinsett, a U.S. diplomat in Mexico who brought poinsettias back to the U.S in 1928.

Since July, when our poinsettias first arrived as tiny plugs, they have been quickly growing and quietly coloring up to enhance your holiday home. This might be our most beautiful batch, but then again it’s easy to think that way every year.

Perhaps not surprising, poinsettias are quite fragile. They must be carefully wrapped and handled and kept toasty warm as they travel from their greenhouse home to their new home. They don’t like to be left alone in the car, it’s just too chilly.

As with any plant, they are also susceptible to pests. Beneficial insects, then, are important to their routine health plan, and applying good bugs keep the bad bugs at bay.

Beneficial insects

No worries, you won’t see these bugs on your plant (they are just so tiny) and in the unlikely event that they make it to your home, they can’t hurt people or pets.

Poinsettias PSA: They aren’t really poisonous unless consumed in impossibly large quantities. Still, the latex in the plant can be irritating to skin and tummies, so it’s best if pets, children, and those with latex allergies steer clear.

Oh the colors! Saturated reds, flamingo pinks, variegated and dappled varieties – it’s hard to choose between them but at least you can’t go wrong.

If It Can Even Get Any Prettier – or how to style your poinsettia

Drop your poinsettia into a pretty container, add a festive ribbon, or combine with other plants. It’s a win whatever you do.

Poinsettia, cypress, and bromeliad container with red twig dogwood

Basic Care – or, how to have the prettiest poinsettia for as long as possible

It’s not easy to get poinsettias to recolor, so the second best thing is to enjoy them as long as possible the first time.

  • Grow in a sunny window or bright, indirect light
  • Keep between 65F-70F degrees
  • Turn down the thermostat at night to keep color longer, but not lower than 55F
  • Keep soil evenly moist
  • Do not allow plant to sit in water or dry out, either will make the plant grumpy
  • Keep away from drafty windows and doors

With proper care, poinsettias will keep their color into March. But, as the days get longer their color begins to fade. By then we’ll all be thinking spring. For now, as we approach the shortest days of the year, we’ll marvel over poinsettias as we all settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Poinsettias in arbor