What to do with poinsettia after the holidays?
Inimitable poinsettias are inseparable from Christmas traditions. Appearing on sale shortly before the winter holidays, they bring the New Year mood to our houses and apartments. In general, these plants are not just seasonal, but "highly specialized". But throwing them after all the Christmas tinsel has been collected is not worth it. Although short-lived, they are able to please us much longer than a few magical winter weeks. These bushes can bloom every winter, but for this poinsettia after the holidays need proper care and attention.
Biological features of poinsettia
Poinsettia, which few call a botanical name the most beautiful euphorbia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) - one of the unique plants that bloom while reducing the duration of daylight hours. It is no coincidence that it is called the ideal winter view. The natural developmental cycle of poinsettia involves flowering at a time when most flowering plants go to a dormant stage.
But from poinsettia they are not expecting flowering at all. After all, small, bead-like flowers collected at the top of the shoots in plain-looking inflorescences are almost invisible. Bouillon leaves made the poinsettia a symbol of Christmas - upper ones, slightly smaller in size than the main ones, but identical in shape to them, located on the tops of the stems.
They bloom with the beginning of flowering, completely changing the tone to red, white, purple, pink, acrylic anise or yellow, depending on the variety. Poinsettia blooms from 3 to 6 months, only then losing its dazzling leaves.
Poinsettia - perennial plants. They can be saved from year to year, if you create the right conditions for them. At least, the bushes after the simplest procedures can be used for vegetative propagation and the cultivation of "replacement". If you find the right approach for them, then every December the faithful plant will delight all with the same bright colors.
Throwing poinsettias as a temporary decor is convenient, because new plants every year massively fill the shelves. But in a hurry to get rid of poinsettia after the holidays is not worth it. She is able to delight not only a few weeks with bright flowering leaves in the winter, but also their juicy greens in the summer.
But even acquiring poinsettia just like a lively Christmas decor, you need to understand that they are quite moody. These indoor plants suffer from improper watering and low humidity, require tropical conditions and special care.
To keep plants beautiful you need to know some secrets and pay attention to the plant. But the result is worth it. Proper care during flowering and strict adherence to periods of active development and dormancy are the main guarantee of preservation of poinsettia for the next year.
While there are bright leaves - just look after
Even if you do not plan to save the plant, let it “live” as long as it can, that is, do not throw it away with the tree. Before losing decorativeness, losing bright bracts and wilting - a condition in which poinsettia will no longer look attractive - leave it with you and admire the unique textures and colors.
And in order for the plant to decorate the interior for a longer time, provide perfect care that allows it to maintain its decorative effect for as long as possible:
- Poinsettias do not like heat. It is better to limit maximum temperatures to 25 degrees (the cooler the place, the longer the bright bracts will last). Ideal temperatures are around 18 degrees.
- Plants must be protected from temperature extremes and drafts, even light ones. As with any cold surfaces with which neither leaves nor pots should be in contact.
- Poinsettias prefer 12-hour daylight and bright diffused lighting on the eastern, western or partially southern windowsill without direct sunlight.
- The humidity for poinsettia should be increased. This plant does not tolerate dry air and the proximity of air conditioners or heating appliances. Spraying is permissible. But it’s better to install a pallet with wet decorative materials that fit into the decor - for example, stone chips, colored expanded clay or glass.
- Poinsettia is watered so that the soil always dries slightly between the irrigations completely in the upper 2-x-3 cm, but does not have time to dry in the center of the pot. Stable, light humidity is ideal. You can water poinsettia only with warm soft water, draining it from the pallets immediately.
- You can feed poinsettia to prolong the decorative effect, but you should not overdo it with fertilizers: a month after the acquisition or the beginning of flowering, complex fertilizers are applied. If poinsettia retains bracts and further, spend 1 not concentrated top dressing once every 4-6 weeks.
- In poinsettia, wilted leaves should be regularly removed, maintaining a neat appearance of the bushes.
Read more about the care and types of poinsettias in the article Poinsettia - the main indoor plant of winter.
Poinsettia rest period
As soon as poinsettia releases green leaves on top of the bracts, and then begins to drop bright leaves (most often a part of the “usual” green leaves falls off), the plant will require completely different conditions and care. Of course, at this time you can just throw the poinsettia. But to save it for the next year is not difficult.
It is enough to trim the bushes to stumps about 8-15 cm high (at least 3 leaves are left on the shoots, ideally 5 buds) and transfer to a cool place - a place with a temperature from 12 (but not lower) to 15-16 degrees of heat. Within 1.5-2 months, the plant should be very rarely watered, completely drying the substrate between these procedures.
A new cycle of active growth and preparation for flowering
When poinsettia begins to "wake up" (usually a surprisingly large number of new leaves appear on the plant at the same time), it is transplanted into nutritious, loose and light soil. A universal substrate with loosening additives, soil for milkweeds or soil on the basis of leaf-turf soil mixtures with small additives of peat, sand and perlite are suitable. Poinsettias are planted in compact containers, only slightly increasing their size (in spacious containers they easily lose compactness).
The transplanted bushes are exposed to fresh air or a bright window, protected from drafts and begin to water in the same way as during flowering. Fertilizing is applied every 2-3 weeks, with fertilizers that are universal or intended for ornamental-deciduous plants. The formation of bushes is carried out at the beginning of growth, leaving 4-6 strong shoots from among the new branches.
In September, daylight hours are limited for poinsettias, shading the plant for 14 hours with an artificial cap or screens. Flower buds are laid with a daylight duration of about 10 hours. Watering is reduced, allowing the substrate to dry by half. Fertilizers are changed into species for decorative flowering plants, increasing the frequency of fertilizing up to 1 time per week. After 2 months, the standard flowering phase care is resumed.
Lost poinsettia or plants that they don’t want to “play with” can be used to cut and grow new, young and healthy plants. The apical green cuttings, after washing off the milky juice in warm water and drying the slices, are rooted under a cap in a light substrate (or just in water).