The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic

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The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic

November 16, 2021
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The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic

The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic

Poinsettias are a true holiday classic. They brighten up the most festive of seasons with their vibrant leaves, and they make for a beautiful centerpiece on your holiday table. But do you know how to properly care for your poinsettia? Consider this your ultimate guide to poinsettias how to care for them and how to use them as holiday decor.

A pink poinsettia with a fireplace in the background.

Poinsettias are a great centerpiece for the holiday table, they are exquisite scattered throughout the home, and simply brilliant in front of a tree. Heck, we even decorate in our greenhouse with them to bring festive vibes to one of our favorite outdoor spaces.

While it may not be rocket science when thinking about how to decorate our home with poinsettias (EVERYWHERE), I really had no clue when I purchased my first one years ago how to care for them. So let’s not let you make the same poinsettia mistakes I did!

Let’s start with this…where do poinsettias come from?

Did you know that California is America’s leading producer of high-quality cut flowers and greens? It’s true and that includes poinsettias! There are more than 225 cut flower and greens farms in our state that you can support when you buy California grown flowers.

The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic. Poinsettias in front of a large fireplace.

Which part of the poinsettia plant is actually the flower?

Poinsettias aren’t what they appear to be. You might believe that the bright red foliage on top are actual flower petals, but they’re called bracts.

Bracts are technically also leaves of the plant, but they are the poinsettia’s way of attracting pollinators in the wild. Turning a different color entices bees and other friendly pollinators to pay the plant a visit. The poinsettia’s actual flowers are the small yellow buds in their center!

The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate with this festive plant. A small white pinsettia in a terra cotta pot on a shelf.

How to select the perfect California grown poinsettia at the store.

  • Look for poinsettias that say California Grown on the packaging.
  • Look for poinsettias with dark green foliage down to the soil line.
  • Choose poinsettias with bracts that are completely colored and avoid ones that have a lot of green around the bract edges.
  • Do not choose plants with yellowed leaves or that have begun to drop leaves.
  • The plant should look full, balanced, and attractive from all angles.
  • Choose plants that are not drooping or wilting.

Pink and red poinsettias in front of a tree with white flocking.

Do poinsettias like the sun or shade better?

Poinsettias love indirect sunlight and mild temperatures. Follow the tips below and your poinsettias will be showing off lush foliage all season long.

  1. A poinsettia plant’s ideal indoor temperatures range between 60°F and 71°F.
  2. Keep your poinsettia away from heat vents, radiators, as well as cold windows and drafty spaces. When decorating a mantle it is important to keep the poinsettias far enough away from the fireplace that the intense heat doesn’t affect the plant. trust me, there is nothing worse than a heat shriveled poinsettia. NOTHING!
  3. Expose the plant to indirect sunlight during the daytime, where it can enjoy the light but not get sunburnt.
  4. Avoid relocating poinsettias from place to place. Differing temperatures if experienced too often can be detrimental to the plant.

A living room decorated with poinsettias, a guide for caring for poinsettias.

How to tell if your poinsettia plant needs water.

If you are considering decorating with poinsettias then you have definitely asked yourself the question, how often should I water a poinsettia plant? When the poinsettia pot becomes lightweight or when the soil becomes dry to the touch, it is time to water, roughly about once a week.

My personal favorite method is to add a few ice cubes on top of the soil every couple of days. It seems to work for us and I don’t over or underwater. However, you do have to be super diligent to not forget.

Here are some guidelines of when and how much to water a poinsettia plant.

  • Soak the plant in the sink if the soil is fully dry and the pot feels light when lifted. You want to avoid having dry soil at all costs.
  • If the top inch of soil feels dry but is moist beneath, a light sprinkling of water ( or an ice cube or two) over the soil is enough to keep it moist – at all times, aim to keep the soil damp throughout not overly saturated.
  • If the soil is damp throughout, you are doing a great job and do not need to water today. Instead, come back tomorrow and check the soil again.
  • If the soil is continually wet this will put stress on the roots and could potentially lead to rrot rot. Leave the plant alone for a week before checking and watering again if needed.

A woman and her dog in a greenhouse decorated with poinsettias.

Now that you know all about caring for poinsettias you can invest in enough of them to set up fun holiday-inspired photo shoots for you and your loved ones…or your dog, whatever floats your boat!

Troubleshooting your problematic poinsettia, how to care for your plant.

We’ve basically covered all you need to know about poinsettia care, but you may have one situation that could cause concern and that is finding a poinsettia that is rapidly thinning and shrinking in size and volume.

Poinsettias will classically drop their leaves when they are exposed to sudden changes in temperature, drafts, or overly cool/dry rooms. They also will lose leaves and wilt in response to an extreme need for water. So if either of these happens come back to this post and follow the steps to properly care for your poinsettia.

Looking for more ideas for the festive season ahead? Check out the articles below!

How to start a perfect fire in 3 Easy Steps – every time!

Is it possible to build a fire that would burn for hours, without constant poking and prodding? A fire so glorious, it would put all of your past fires to shame? The answer is yes, and This Mess is Ours let us in on the secret: the Upside-Down fire.

California Grown Holiday Gift Guide

As a Californian, Susan Phillips loves to support local and state-wide companies. “There are so many innovators and creative people who deserve our support not only throughout the year but especially during the holiday season.” Check out Susan’s CA Grown holiday gift guide!!

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The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic

Poinsettias are a true holiday classic. They brighten up the most festive of seasons with their vibrant leaves, and they make for a beautiful centerpiece on your holiday table. But do you know how to properly care for your poinsettia? Consider this your ultimate guide to poinsettias how to care for them and how to use them as holiday decor.

A pink poinsettia with a fireplace in the background.

Poinsettias are a great centerpiece for the holiday table, they are exquisite scattered throughout the home, and simply brilliant in front of a tree. Heck, we even decorate in our greenhouse with them to bring festive vibes to one of our favorite outdoor spaces.

While it may not be rocket science when thinking about how to decorate our home with poinsettias (EVERYWHERE), I really had no clue when I purchased my first one years ago how to care for them. So let’s not let you make the same poinsettia mistakes I did!

Let’s start with this…where do poinsettias come from?

Did you know that California is America’s leading producer of high-quality cut flowers and greens? It’s true and that includes poinsettias! There are more than 225 cut flower and greens farms in our state that you can support when you buy California grown flowers.

The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate With A Holiday Classic. Poinsettias in front of a large fireplace.

Which part of the poinsettia plant is actually the flower?

Poinsettias aren’t what they appear to be. You might believe that the bright red foliage on top are actual flower petals, but they’re called bracts.

Bracts are technically also leaves of the plant, but they are the poinsettia’s way of attracting pollinators in the wild. Turning a different color entices bees and other friendly pollinators to pay the plant a visit. The poinsettia’s actual flowers are the small yellow buds in their center!

The Ultimate Guide To Poinsettia How To Care For & Decorate with this festive plant. A small white pinsettia in a terra cotta pot on a shelf.

How to select the perfect California grown poinsettia at the store.

  • Look for poinsettias that say California Grown on the packaging.
  • Look for poinsettias with dark green foliage down to the soil line.
  • Choose poinsettias with bracts that are completely colored and avoid ones that have a lot of green around the bract edges.
  • Do not choose plants with yellowed leaves or that have begun to drop leaves.
  • The plant should look full, balanced, and attractive from all angles.
  • Choose plants that are not drooping or wilting.

Pink and red poinsettias in front of a tree with white flocking.

Do poinsettias like the sun or shade better?

Poinsettias love indirect sunlight and mild temperatures. Follow the tips below and your poinsettias will be showing off lush foliage all season long.

  1. A poinsettia plant’s ideal indoor temperatures range between 60°F and 71°F.
  2. Keep your poinsettia away from heat vents, radiators, as well as cold windows and drafty spaces. When decorating a mantle it is important to keep the poinsettias far enough away from the fireplace that the intense heat doesn’t affect the plant. trust me, there is nothing worse than a heat shriveled poinsettia. NOTHING!
  3. Expose the plant to indirect sunlight during the daytime, where it can enjoy the light but not get sunburnt.
  4. Avoid relocating poinsettias from place to place. Differing temperatures if experienced too often can be detrimental to the plant.

A living room decorated with poinsettias, a guide for caring for poinsettias.

How to tell if your poinsettia plant needs water.

If you are considering decorating with poinsettias then you have definitely asked yourself the question, how often should I water a poinsettia plant? When the poinsettia pot becomes lightweight or when the soil becomes dry to the touch, it is time to water, roughly about once a week.

My personal favorite method is to add a few ice cubes on top of the soil every couple of days. It seems to work for us and I don’t over or underwater. However, you do have to be super diligent to not forget.

Here are some guidelines of when and how much to water a poinsettia plant.

  • Soak the plant in the sink if the soil is fully dry and the pot feels light when lifted. You want to avoid having dry soil at all costs.
  • If the top inch of soil feels dry but is moist beneath, a light sprinkling of water ( or an ice cube or two) over the soil is enough to keep it moist – at all times, aim to keep the soil damp throughout not overly saturated.
  • If the soil is damp throughout, you are doing a great job and do not need to water today. Instead, come back tomorrow and check the soil again.
  • If the soil is continually wet this will put stress on the roots and could potentially lead to rrot rot. Leave the plant alone for a week before checking and watering again if needed.

A woman and her dog in a greenhouse decorated with poinsettias.

Now that you know all about caring for poinsettias you can invest in enough of them to set up fun holiday-inspired photo shoots for you and your loved ones…or your dog, whatever floats your boat!

Troubleshooting your problematic poinsettia, how to care for your plant.

We’ve basically covered all you need to know about poinsettia care, but you may have one situation that could cause concern and that is finding a poinsettia that is rapidly thinning and shrinking in size and volume.

Poinsettias will classically drop their leaves when they are exposed to sudden changes in temperature, drafts, or overly cool/dry rooms. They also will lose leaves and wilt in response to an extreme need for water. So if either of these happens come back to this post and follow the steps to properly care for your poinsettia.

Looking for more ideas for the festive season ahead? Check out the articles below!

How to start a perfect fire in 3 Easy Steps – every time!

Is it possible to build a fire that would burn for hours, without constant poking and prodding? A fire so glorious, it would put all of your past fires to shame? The answer is yes, and This Mess is Ours let us in on the secret: the Upside-Down fire.

California Grown Holiday Gift Guide

As a Californian, Susan Phillips loves to support local and state-wide companies. “There are so many innovators and creative people who deserve our support not only throughout the year but especially during the holiday season.” Check out Susan’s CA Grown holiday gift guide!!

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