Caring for poinsettias

The poinsettia's small flowers are surrounded by colorful leaves called bracts. (Photo by Scott Bauer, Agricultural Research Service.)

K-State horticulture expert says popular holiday plant can be maintained year-round

In all their colorful glory, poinsettias are a great addition to any home during the holiday season.

Ranging from red, white, green, pink or a color combination, poinsettias can be maintained year-round, says Kansas State University horticulture expert Cynthia Domenghini.

“Poinsettias do best with temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit,” Domenghini said. “Consistency is key so as to avoid drafts from windows or heat sources, such as the fireplace or space heaters.”

While bright, indirect light is preferred, Domenghini advised keeping poinsettia leaves from touching cold windows. Soil should be kept moist as well.

“If it dries completely, the poinsettia will wilt and potentially lose some leaves,” Domenghini said. “Water the plant in the sink until water runs through the drainage holes of the container.”

She warns that the roots will rot if the poinsettia is left in standing water, such as in a saucer or in the plastic sleevethey are often sold in.

“Fertilizing and other maintenance is not necessary until after the holidays,” Domenghini said.

Domenghini and her colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticulture Newsletter with tips for maintaining home landscapes and gardens. The newsletter is available to view online or can be delivered by email each week.

Interested persons can also send their garden and yard-related questions to Domenghini at [email protected], or contact your local K-State Research and Extension office.