Poinsettias are among the most popular houseplants and decorate many living rooms in winter. If you look after your poinsettia properly, you can enjoy the plant and its colorful leaves for many years to come. But what do you need to consider when watering, pruning and fertilizing?

Poinsettia care: how to do it right

The popular houseplant with its striking bracts originally comes from Mexico. In Germany, poinsettias go on sale from the beginning of November for around eight weeks and make the hearts of all amateur gardeners beat faster: despite its elegant appearance, it is generally quite easy to care for and robust. Nevertheless, you should take the following 6 tips to heart when caring for your poinsettia so that you can still enjoy it next year.

1. the right location

As a tropical plant, the poinsettia prefers a warm and bright location. However, it can only tolerate direct sunlight in moderation. The plant is also sensitive to cold draughts. In the wrong location, the poinsettia could lose its leaves or even die.

It feels really at home at a room temperature between 64 °F and 68 °F. Nevertheless, avoid placing the poinsettia on the windowsill directly above a heater. In summer, you can also place the plant outside in partial shade. However, as soon as temperatures drop below 53 °F, it should be brought back indoors.

2. poinsettia care: watering and fertilizing correctly

Poinsettias do not tolerate waterlogging at all. Make sure that the soil is slightly drier rather than too moist. Therefore, only water the poinsettia when the soil really feels a little dry.

The best way to water is via a saucer or planter. This allows the soil to soak up enough water. Excess water should be poured away after about 20 minutes. Yellow leaves are a sign that the soil is too moist. During the flowering period and the growth phase in summer, the poinsettia should be given a complete fertilizer every two weeks.

3. repotting poinsettias

Poinsettias do not need to be repotted every year, as they can last for many years and grow into attractive shrubs if cared for properly. In order for the plant to thrive in the best possible way, it should be repotted either immediately after purchase or at the latest at the start of the growth phase in late spring. Poinsettias are often sold in inferior soil or treated with growth inhibitors, which ensure that the plant remains small.

You can use cactus soil for repotting, for example. This stores water less well and therefore prevents waterlogging. Also make sure that the new pot is not much larger than the old one. Otherwise, the poinsettia will grow vigorously but will form fewer bracts.

4. poinsettia care: How to turn the leaves red again

If the poinsettia has lost all its colored leaves in spring, deep green leaves will grow back first. In order for these to change color and develop new flowers, the plant must receive a maximum of twelve hours of light per day in autumn. Therefore, from October, place the pot in a room that is dark from the early evening. Alternatively, you can cover the plant with a cardboard box or bucket for 12 to 14 hours a day. If this is not done, the poinsettia’s colorful leaves will not appear until January or February.

5. pruning the poinsettia

If the poinsettia has lost its shape, you can cut it back without hesitation – even to the woody parts of the plant. Long, weak shoots with few leaves should also be cut off at the same time. The best time to prune the poinsettia is directly after flowering. The plant will sprout again shortly afterwards and form many new leaves. After pruning, however, the poinsettia needs a slightly brighter spot in order to grow strong and healthy.

6. Buying poinsettias: What you should look out for

When buying, make sure that the flowers between the colored bracts are budded. If most of the buds have already opened or even fallen off, the plant has already finished flowering. You should also not buy plants with yellow leaves. Plants that are standing outside or are offered in the draughty entrance area of the supermarket are also not recommended. Finally, pack your poinsettia well for transportation as it is sensitive to the cold.

Caring for your poinsettia is not that difficult. And with these tips, it is guaranteed to shine in all its colorful glory again next year.