Post-Holiday Poinsettia Pampering

Post-Holiday Poinsettia Pampering

Pamper your poinsettia. With proper care it’ll serve you long after the holidays as a xeric evergreen perennial in your landscape.

Living in South Texas has its perks. One of them is the opportunity to grow poinsettias for annual holiday beauty.

If you’ve been taking proper care of the poinsettias prior to and during the holidays, then you have the opportunity that many people in the rest of the country do not. Incorporate them into your landscape for perpetual beauty!

Poinsettia is a semi-tropical but semi-arid plant. In other words, it does not like temperatures below 40 degrees or being watered every week. It’s a perfect plant for a large container outdoors or a specific bed in the landscape.

Follow these tips to keep your poinsettias thriving during the holidays.

  • Keep your poinsettia in bright, indirect sunlight and good air circulation (no direct drafts).
  • Yes, it is a semi-arid plant, but never let the soil go dry.
  • Water daily with ice cubes, depending on pot size — four cubes for a 6-inch pot (the most common); eight cubes for the 8-inch pot; and 12 cubes for a 10-inch pot.
  • If the plant wilts severely and soil is completely dry, then sink the entire pot in the kitchen sink or bucket until soil and roots are completely re-hydrated. Remove the pot after 10-15 minutes; 30-60 minutes of inundation may mean death.

Follow these tips to keep your poinsettias thriving beyond the holidays.

  • Keep your poinsettia inside or in a greenhouse with bright, indirect sunlight and good air circulation (no direct drafts) until the danger of freezing temperatures has passed.
  • Cut the plant in half before planting in an outdoor container or bed.
  • Plant in a sunny, well-drained location, well out of the way of chilling winds and frost pockets, and away from any supplemental lighting from street or porch lights.
  • Water initially after planting with ¼ gallon of water three times a week, gradually changing to 1 gallon every other week. Avoid getting stems and foliage wet.
  • During growing season, keep them bushy and compact by pinching off the top one inch of new shoots when they reach five or six inches long. Do this monthly during the growing season.
  • Stop pinching around mid-August.
  • Fertilize once a month during the growing season with 2-3 ounces of a complete, slow release fertilizer.

Recycle, reuse and repurpose! Don’t put a perfectly good plant in the trash or compost bin. Use your Christmas poinsettias as a xeric evergreen perennial.

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Mark Peterson

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Mark Peterson

Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.