The Euphorbia Pulcherrima mostly known as Poinsettia or Christmas Star is an ornamental plant, native of Mexico, where it grows naturally in the wild, and it can reach a height even between two and four meters.
A curiosity regarding the name is that the name ‘Poinsettia’ comes from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US ambassador sent to Mexico, who introduced and categorized the plant in the US in 1825.
The Christmas star belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae, order Euforbiali (Euphorbiales). One of its particular characteristic is that inside its trunk and its branches there is a milky substance (latex), which is quite inoffensive for humans, it could just irritating the skin, but it could be highly toxic for dogs and cats.
Usually it is very rare that Poinsettias would flourish again in the house for the second year of life, you can just see it only developing some colorful bract in February or March. This phenomenon often depends on the fact that the Poinsettias does not need so much light, yet this is a plant needs less than 12 hours of daily illumination to bloom. In our dwelling instead, the length of the lighting period is longer, because in the evening we light up the lamps, giving them an illumination which is not necessary and harmful for this plant.
Our recommended solution is simply to avoid giving them too much light. It could be sufficient to keep the Poinsettia in the dark.
The Christmas star is a beautiful plant, and that red and green combination of colors give to our homes a perfect Christmas atmosphere. Until January the end of January has a vigorous presence which is likely to wither away soon in the late winter, but with the right care can continue to live.
Tips and requirements to save your Poinsettia in the winter:
Winter: as much as the colored bracts will be present it should be kept into a bright area, not touched directly from the sun, with a temperature no lower than 20-22 degrees. It has to be protected from temperature changes, especially from cold drafts, which can cause loss of leaves, so beware about the location you are placing them
Irrigation must be constant to prevent dryness of the substrate, but must not be excessive to avoid rottenness. Are several the peculiarities you should follow for a proper irrigation, regarding this issue, you may find this other articles of us particularly interesting if you want to know how to water your ornamental plants.
End of February and March: when the plant has lost most of the leaves, the stems should be cut at a height of 20 – 25cm and you should irrigate them less frequently.
Since the light in that period of the year is still limited you could keep the Christmas star in a bright environment, even with moderate temperatures but never less than 15 degrees.
Spring: During this season you should repot the plant in a fertile substrate of soil, probably one of the most important operation you should do. Check our article on the best suggestion for your ornamental plants, where we explain the relevance of a rich and fresh soil.
During the spring you can even add to your plants some liquid fertilizer, starting within the new soil, it has to be a substance rich in nitrogen, and it has to be made once every 20-30 days.
Summer: it can just be kept outdoors, remembering that it should not be expose to light for too long.
Now to prepare your Christmas plant for the winter you should prepare it by following this suggestion which are again similar operation of what we have made so far.
You should change once more the soil, and you should put the plant in another vase which could be just 2 centimeters more of the previous year’ vase.
From the end of the summer until the end of October you should bring them inside a dark and non-wormed place for at least 15 hours per day. For instance, the most common practice, could be to put the Christmas star into this room from 5pm until 8 am each day.
The quality of the soil could be crucial for the life of your plants especially in this peculiar step.
December, prepare and transfer the plant: if you managed to save the star of last year’s Christmas is the time to repot giving her a pot only slightly larger (2 cm diameter more may base). Use universal soil fertile and ensure the plant 15 hours a day of darkness until the end of October (if we want to flourish). Keep the plant of about 17 until the morning to 8 in an unheated, dark place. This darkening is obliged conducting essential because returning to normal rhythms of light in November, the plant begins to produce its beautiful bracts.
This ‘darken’ phase is necessary if you are willing to make it bloom again in December.
Hopefully, if you will follow these steps you will save this beautiful flower. We can support you in different ways along this process, if you need raw material or any other help we will be glad to help.