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How To Overwinter Poinsettias

Poinsettias have large, red, yellow, white, or pink bracts with a yellow flower in the center. They are widely used during Christmas time.

Poinsettias have been known for being easy to grow with proper care; your Poinsettias can last well beyond the holiday season. So, we have dug deep into how to overwinter your Poinsettia from the cold weather to keep it flourishing all year round.

Keep in mind that Poinsettias are sensitive to the elements. Once it drops below 50 degrees, bring them inside. Once inside for the winter, they need about 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness.

Most people put their plant in a cardboard box for 12 hours, from early evening until late morning. After this period, return the Poinsettia to an area with ample sunlight.

This raises questions like, what kind of soil do they need to thrive? Or, how long can you keep a Poinsettia alive? Continue reading for the answers to these questions and more!

Red poinsettia flowers closeup - How To Overwinter Poinsettias

How Do You Overwinter Poinsettias?

Red poinsettia flowers closeup

Poinsettias are a bit of a mystery when it comes to their care. But, have no fear! We have some simple step-by-step instructions that will keep your Poinsettia happy and healthy:

Poinsettias don't like frigid temperatures because they are tropical plants. Usually, your Poinsettia will be outside unless the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

  1. Once the temperature drops, cut it back 4 to 6 inches tall.
  2. From spring until September, pinch back the growing shoots every 3 to 4 weeks. This will leave about 5 to 6 leaves per stem. After this step, you can let the stems grow like normal.
  3. Move your plant inside and repot the plant with new soil and a larger planting container.
  4. Once inside, place them in a Southern facing window that receives plenty of light during the day. Tip: Don't set them too close to a cold window. This could cause the flowers to droop. To add on, make sure they are in a room or part of the house that stays anywhere from 65-72 degrees. Don't set them near furnaces or fireplaces.
  5. Feed them weekly with a houseplant fertilizer.
  6. Starting October 1st, they must be in complete darkness for 12 hours each night. Use a large box that completely covers your Poinsettia. Cardboard boxes usually are the best option.
  7. After covering overnight for 12 hours, return the plant to indirect sunlight for 6 to 8 hours daily. Remember the temperature requirements of 56-72 degrees.
  8. Continue this covering and sunlight method for 8 to 10 weeks. With these steps, your Poinsettia will bloom during November or December.

Poinsettias can be high-maintenance, so most people don't stick with this regime. Nevertheless, more power to you if you want to keep those beauties reblooming for the next holiday season!

What Are Poinsettia Bracts?

Poinsettias are tropical plants with bracts, or leaves, with a cluster of flowers in their center. These are the iconic large, red leaves we see on all Poinsettias. Another example of a flower with a bract is a Bougainvillea.

Bracts are leaves that protect the flower from pests and harsh weather.

How Do I Care For My Poinsettias?

Close-up of full blossom poinsettia pot in golden wrap

We know Poinsettias are fussy, so here are some extra tips on caring for this beloved plant:

Water

Don't let your Poinsettia dry out. Water whenever the soil feels dry. If your home is dry during the winter, you can keep them better hydrated with a humidifier.

On the other hand, don't soak it to where it's sitting in idle water too long. They can develop root rot if left in standing water. With Poinsettias, you want the correct water balance to keep them thriving.

Light

We know how to cover and uncover your Poinsettia in a cardboard box to get them to rebloom.

During the winter months, make sure they get the 12 hours covered and 6 to 8 hours uncovered. Aside from winter, they still need at least 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight daily.

Check out this cardboard box on Amazon.

Soil

Poinsettias love well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly acidic PH. Mix in organic matter like peat moss. The key is finding a balance between good drainage and plenty of moisture.

Don't fertilize until after the blooming season. You will be sorely disappointed if you fertilize while the plant is in bloom.

Click here to see this potting mix on Amazon.

Why Is My Poinsettia Dying?

Withered red poinsettia in a flower pot

Poinsettias might turn yellow if they get too much or too little water. Check their water intake and adjust accordingly. Additionally, too much fertilizer could be the culprit.

If your Poinsettia has completely bit the dust, it's probably not getting the right combination of complete darkness and adequate sunlight.

How Long Do Poinsettias Live Indoors?

Beautiful poinsettia in flowerpot — Photo

On average, Poinsettias can live 2 to 3 months indoors after the winter. Although, some gardeners attempt to keep the plant alive until the following season.

Either way, caring for Poinsettias is not for the faint of heart as they require a lot of time and care.

Can Poinsettias Live Outdoors?

Poinsettia, Euphorbia pucherrima

If you are in a colder region, it's best to steer clear of trying to grow them outdoors. Poinsettias do best in hotter climates like Florida.

If you want to keep your Poinsettia outside, ensure the chance for frost has passed and the temperate at night doesn't drop below 50 degrees.

Are Poinsettias Poisonous?

Contrary to popular belief, Poinsettias are not considered poisonous. People can have an allergic reaction to Poinsettias.

Remember that this plant isn't meant to be consumed even though it's not considered poisonous.

With pets, it has been known to irritate the mouth and stomach. Be safe than sorry, and put your Poinsettia away from kittens and puppies.

When Should I Throw Away My Poinsettia?

Well, let's be honest. Poinsettias aren't expensive and require a lot of effort to keep alive. In our opinion, if your Poinsettia is looking stale, then it's time to toss it.

You can always buy a new one next year.

What Time Should I Put My Poinsettia In Darkness?

Generally, experts recommend you put your Poinsettia in complete darkness from 5:00 PM to 8:00 AM. This is the recommended timeframe since it's naturally dark anyways.

This prevents the chance of the Poinsettia being accidentally exposed to light.

What Room Should I Put My Poinsettia In?

red leaf plant in a white pot

During blackout periods where your Poinsettia needs total darkness, go for a basement or closet. Just ensure your plant won't accidentally be exposed to the sun from a door opening.

This means keeping your plant out of rooms where kids frequently go in and out.

On the other hand, when your plant is receiving its daylight hours, ensure you are in a room that receives 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight.

Ideally, set the plant on a table in a south-facing room. Just remember you don't want the plant touching a cold window, or the leaves could start wilting.

Are Coffee Grounds Good For Poinsettias?

Coffee grounds being added to baby poinsettias plant as natural organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen for healthy growth

Don't know what to do with your old coffee grounds? Coffee grounds are a fantastic, natural fertilizer. Old coffee grounds work wonders if you want to skip a trip to your local hardware store for a houseplant fertilizer.

The added nitrogen helps to keep those red leaves blooming.

To Finish Up

Poinsettias are anything but easy. Despite that, if you can manage their high-maintenance requirements, then the beautiful blooms will not disappoint.

The key to overwintering your Poinsettia is having the right amount of water, light, and care. The next time you receive this lovely plant during the holiday season, think twice before throwing it away!

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful articles below:

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