Source Newsroom: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Poinsettias are popular holiday plants, but enjoying them doesn’t have to end when the season is over. With proper care, they can thrive in homes or offices. They can also be planted directly in Florida yards, but need to be placed carefully, where water and light can be managed.
Poinsettias are tropical plants and do best in a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
They require bright, indirect light and should be placed close to a sunny window and turned once a week to prevent leaning. In poorly lit rooms, they can be placed under incandescent or fluorescent lamps. However, plants should be kept far enough from incandescent bulbs that they are not damaged by the heat.
The soil should be kept evenly moist -- neither extremely dry nor waterlogged. Faded flowers should be removed to improve the plant’s appearance and to ensure that more energy is directed to new leaf growth. Watering should be decreased when the poinsettia begins to drop its leaves, but roots should not be allowed to dry excessively. If kept outdoors, remember to protect them from freezing temperatures.
The stems should be pruned to about 6 inches in April. At this point, watering should be increased and fertilizer used. The plants should be placed in a well-lit area but not direct sunlight.
The poinsettia may be difficult to reflower for the holiday season when it is grown in the average home environment.
For more information on growing these holiday plants in the landscape, refer to the bulletin “Poinsettias at a Glance” (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep349).
Dan Culbert is an extension agent III specializing in environmental horticulture and is a member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. He is based at the Okeechobee County extension office in Okeechobee, Fla.