Okay, so you know this plant – a native of Mexico and Central America – probably won't live forever in your home climate. But, darn it, you'd like to at least keep it alive through Valentine's Day this year. Yes, it can be done! Read on for the secrets to poinsettia longevity:
To keep this lush, red beauty alive, don't forget its tropical origins: this plant likes humidity, so mist regularly. On the other hand, wet roots are a big no-no, so water your poinsettia in moderation and only when the soil seems fairly dry. Finally, your plant will need lots of bright, indirect light.
Tip 1: Leaves dropping? Color less vibrant? The soil's too dry.
Tip 2: Plant in general decline? The soil's probably too wet and/or the plant is not getting enough light. Also, make sure it's well away from warm or cool drafts.
When the holidays are behind you, the poinsettia can stay on display – however the colorful bracts will turn from red to green. Another option: as Totally Her blogger Sarah notes, you may force your poinsettia into hibernation
, then force it back into growing form when October or November rolls around.
Alternating correctly between daylight and darkness for a few weeks in fall, your plant should start sprouting gorgeous red bracts again. As Mr. Grow notes, in a particularly helpful post, poinsettias are not the easiest of houseplants
, but reviving them year after year is satisfying work. Happy holidays!