Poinsettias are winter plants and only show their graceful red leaves with small flowers in the cold season. Then they are usually disposed of, but this does not have to be, because the poinsettia is a perennial plant if it is properly “summered”. Care requires a little patience and skill, but with a lot of tact the plant will turn red again in the next winter and show flowers.


  • also Christmas star, Advent star or poinsettia
  • originally from South and Central America
  • popular plant already with the Aztecs
  • from the genus milkweed
  • contrary to other opinions, several years
  • Houseplant
  • red-colored bracts
  • do not confuse it with the flowers
  • Flowers only small and inconspicuous
  • Main flowering time from November to February

Short day plants

Poinsettias are included in the genus of short-day plants. For this reason, they develop their handsome red leaves and flowers especially in the winter months, when the days are particularly short and it gets dark early and light late.

The reluctance to bloom and the lack of development of the red bracts is mainly due to the fact that the plant needs more than twelve hours of darkness over a longer period of time to stimulate the formation of the flowers.

Unfortunately, this dark period is often not granted in the local latitudes. This is mainly due to the following natural factors that have to be simulated again for the poinsettia:

  • Poinsettia originally native to the equator
  • here the nights are 12 hours long all year round
  • Plant mostly grows in dense forests
  • so he gets little light
  • There are no pronounced climatic changes here
  • no seasons
  • but dry and rainy seasons
Tip: Based on the knowledge of the original home, the poinsettia can also be offered the best environment in the local latitudes. In this way, the perennial plant can also be brought over the summer and forms red bracts and flowers again in the next winter.

Care over the winter

Poinsettias are usually offered in stores in November. The red leaves then usually stay on the plant until January. After that, they usually start to fall off and no new red leaves are reproduced.

But with the right care, the red leaves can stay on the star longer. If the living conditions of its original home are now simulated, then the leaves can remain colored until the end of February or even longer:

  • find a warm and bright location
  • A bright window sill in a warm room is ideal
  • pour regularly but only lightly with lukewarm water
  • Spray from time to time with rainwater
  • so the rainy season is simulated
  • Significantly reduce watering from the end of February to April
  • the poinsettia can enter its resting phase

Keep the rest time

The period from the end of February to April should serve as a resting time for the plant, which must be observed in any case. During this time, she is brought to a warm, bright place where she only gets the natural times of day, that is, there should no longer be a place in the living room, which is mostly illuminated in the evening. Fertilizers are also taboo at this time.

Tip: Poinsettias are very maintenance-intensive. Care should also be taken when giving water and fertilizer that they are given regularly but not excessively. The motto here is “less is often more”. Over-fertilization or over-watering can quickly occur, which does more harm than good to the plant.

After the rest period

At the end of April, the poinsettia can be brought out of its resting phase. To do this, the plant is first cut back. In this way it can form new shoots over the summer. A cut back to a total height of about fifteen to twenty centimeters is optimal here.

Even if the poinsettia was so big in winter, this pruning should definitely be carried out. Proceed as follows after the rest period:

  • slowly increase the watering again
  • only pour at the bottom of the roots
  • Avoid waterlogging at all costs
  • from May the star begins to grow again
  • now liquid fertilizer should also be added weekly
  • here the fertilizer for flowering plants from the trade is sufficient
  • the fertilizer is given over the summer until mid-September
  • a bright location without direct midday sun is ideal
Tip: If you have the opportunity, you can also spend your poinsettia outside in a sheltered place on the balcony or terrace after the ice saints. Here, too, it should be as bright as possible and without direct midday sun, although a roof is helpful to keep the natural rainwater out.

Stimulate flower formation

From mid-September the poinsettia must be moved to another location in order to shine in the most beautiful colors again at the right time of year. Now a dark phase has to be taken care of, which stimulates the formation of the red leaves and the small flowers.

To do this, he may only be exposed to a natural light source for about eleven to twelve hours for the next six to eight weeks. It shouldn’t be too cold at the new location either. The following places are ideal for taking good care of the poinsettia:

  • a not too cold, dark cellar with a small window
  • a relatively dark storage room, also with a small window
  • after twelve hours, there should be no more incidence of light
  • the rooms should then no longer be entered with light
  • alternatively, a cardboard box can be slipped over
  • even an opaque bag can simulate darkness
  • cover and uncover regularly every twelve hours
  • In such a case, do not place the plant in a bright location
  • the environment should be dim
  • better only ten hours light than only ten hours dark

Even during the darkening period, the poinsettia must be given regular watering. But here you have to make sure that there is no waterlogging or that the earth remains too wet. So this should first dry on the surface before a little more is poured. The poinsettia does not need a lot of water in the dark phase.

Tip: If you want your poinsettia in the bright red color in other seasons, you can initiate the dark phase at any other time. So the plant can be in full glory even in summer, but then it will most likely take its rest phase around Christmas.

After the blackout

During the darkening phase, the poinsettia do not yet form red leaves or flowers. That only happens after it is exposed to light again. So he now moves into the apartment at the chosen location. This should have the following characteristics:

  • very warm, over 22 degrees Celsius are ideal
  • sunny and bright
  • a south-facing window sill is ideal
  • Avoid full midday sun, however
  • protect from drafts
  • after a few days the red bracts are formed
  • the small, inconspicuous flowers now also show up
Tip: If you buy a poinsettia and want to keep it for several years, you should rely on good quality from a nursery and not buy the plant in the supermarket. Because these are usually already weakened and have not received the necessary care, as they were only bred for the Christmas season. So cheap plants are usually only intended for a winter season.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *