The poinsettia plant is one of the biggest symbols of the Christmas season as hundreds of thousands are bought and given as gifts over the period. Unfortunately, once the festivities are over this vibrant plant is often forgotten and left to wither away. So Monty Don is offering his sage advice on what to do with poinsettia after Christmas to make the most of this jolly bloom.
Welcoming the new year, Monty shared his poinsettia care tips among other things on his much popular gardening blog, pointing out that ‘with a little care these can be made to last looking good for months’. Or all year round for that matter!
If you're as eager as we are to keep your see if the poinsettia can be even more than just one of the best winter flower and stay looking great until next Christmas, let's discover what Monty suggests to do with them...
What to do with poinsettia after Christmas
In all fairness, the UK climate is not exactly ideal for the tropical plant that is poinsettia. But if you choose the right room and environment for your plant then half of the work of keeping it alive is already done.
‘Poinsettias are only really comfortable in damp warmth,’ says Monty. ‘They do not like cool nights, very hot dry rooms or big fluctuations in temperatures, so keep them where there is a constant average temperature, avoiding draughts, cold windows or even very bright spots that can get very hot in the middle of the day.’
Other experts are quick to agree with his tips, including this one.‘After Christmas, you can keep your poinsettia plant alive and healthy by following a few simple steps,’ says Jack Sutcliffe, gardening expert and co-founder of Power Sheds.
How to care for poinsettia
As pointed out by Monty, where you place your poinsettia is crucial. Keeping it indoors is essential as the plant doesn’t like cold weather or temperature fluctuations.
‘Poinsettias are tropical plants and are sensitive to cold temperatures. Keep your poinsettia indoors in a location with bright, indirect light,’ advises Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. ‘Avoid placing it near drafts or heating vents. Maintain a comfortable indoor environment to keep your poinsettia healthy.’
Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants.
‘Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. Water thoroughly, until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot,’ Jack says.
Monty Don recommends ‘standing the pot in a sink full of water and leaving it to stand for 10 minutes or so before letting the excess water drain from the pot.’
But you can also water it conventionally. Just be careful not to overdo it.
‘Avoid overwatering as excessive moisture can lead to root rot,’ Steve warns.
In order to encourage your plant’s health and growth, it’s recommended to treat it to some fertiliser in the spring and summer months.
‘Feed your poinsettia with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser around once a month during spring and summer,’ Steve says.
For your poinsettia to grow those beautiful, vibrant blooms in time for next Christmas, the plant requires a period of dormancy. And to help the plant get that time to recharge and set buds for next season, you will need to prune it and expose it to hours of darkness.
‘To encourage flowering in the next season, in late spring, prune it back, leaving about 15 centimetres of stems,’ says Petar Ivanov, gardening and plant expert at Fantastic Gardeners.
'Keep the plant in a warm environment, and around October, provide 14 hours of darkness daily for about 6 to 8 weeks to stimulate the colourful bract formation.'
Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.
Can poinsettias live after Christmas?
Yes, you can keep your poinsettia plant alive and thriving after Christmas and throughout the year.
‘After Christmas, continue caring for your poinsettia by placing it in a well-lit area away from any drafts,’ Petar advises. ‘Water it when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch, but avoid overwatering it. Trim any faded bracts if it's necessary and fertilise the plant monthly with a balanced, all-purpose fertiliser.’
When should I cut down my poinsettia?
Poinsettias should be cut back in spring to encourage a period of dormancy, which will allow for new flowering in the new season.
‘In early spring, gradually reduce watering and allow the plant's foliage to die back naturally. Then trim the stems to about 12cm in height,’ Steve recommends.
But if you’re not feeling up for all-year-round poinsettia care, then there are other ways you can utilise those pretty blooms. You can use them as cut stems for flower arrangements or even repurpose them for potpourri. The bloom is your oyster!
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Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.
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