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How to care for a poinsettia

Advice to help keep this Christmas plant flowering all holiday

Poinsettias are a popular plant at Christmas and they make a wonderful festive addition to any home. With their bright red flowers, they fit perfectly into the traditional seasonal colour scheme and make striking centrepieces for your Christmas dining table.

Delicate in nature, poinsettias are sensitive plants, but with a little care and attention they can continue to look great all over the holiday season.

Here are our top tips on how to look after a poinsettia and keep them looking their best all Christmas long.

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Safety first

  • Wash your hands after any handling of the plant as its milky white sap can irritate skin. When possible, wear protective gardening gloves.
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How to care for a Christmas poinsettia

Step 1

Before you leave the store, wrap your plant carefully in plastic, or put it in a plastic bag, to carry it home. This is to protect it from the cold outdoor temperature, which can damage the foliage. Unwrap it as soon as you walk through the door.

Step 2

Once home, it's time to choose a spot for your poinsettia. We advise one that:

  • gets a lot of light
  • remains at an ideal temperature of between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius (°C)
  • avoids the cold, drafts and direct heat (so keep away from windowsills, radiators and mantelpieces if you’re lighting a fire in the hearth)
  • is out of reach of young children and pets due to the skin-irritating sap

Once the spot's selected, leave your poinsettia there for the whole season. As they're sensitive to changes in temperature – moving them from warmer to cooler spots (and vice versa) can cause the leaves to drop.

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Step 3

Water by standing the plant's pot in a saucer of water for about 20 minutes in order to fully soak the soil near the bottom.

Step 4

Water sparingly. Overwatering can sometimes lead to grey mould appearing. Keep an eye on the surface of the compost and only water once this has begun to dry out.

Step 5

Mist the leaves slightly with a hand sprayer to create a bit of humidity. This helps to prolong the life of the flowers (also known as bracts).

Top Tip: Revive droopy leaves

If your poinsettia's leaves are drooping, try soaking the root ball in warm water for 30 to 40 minutes. This can revive a poinsettia that has started to fade.

 

Step 6

Remove all dead leaves and keep the soil around the plant free from any fallen poinsettia leaves.

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