The Secret to Perfect Poinsettias

What Makes Our Poinsettias Special?

Giordano’s Gift and Garden sells “Ecke” poinsettias. These are specially hybridized by our growers to be adaptable to winter home environments.

In other words, most homes have low light in the wintertime, and also low humidity. Our poinsettias are adaptable to low light, and tolerant of low humidity. On the other hand, most “supermarket” poinsettias have been grown in greenhouses that have high humidity, and tend to suffer when you get them home.

Poinsettias do best when the thermostat rests between 65 and 75 degrees. You don’t want to go much lower in the evening or you will get leaf drop. And keep them away from drafts and cold windows.


Poinsettias also like lots of direct light. Place your plants near a southern, eastern or western window and keep the soil moist while they are still in bloom. Don’t allow poinsettias to sit in water. Let the water drain over the sink before placing on a saucer. Also, water only when the surface is dry to the touch, rather than on a schedule, because of the heat going on and off.

Want to Get Them to Come Back?  Get snippy in the spring

Allow your poinsettias to go a little drier between watering during the spring. In May, cut about 4 inches from each stem to foster a lush, full plant during the winter. Spring also is the best time to start fertilizing.

Change the venue

As the temperatures rise around June, it’s time to move your poinsettias outside to an area that gets a moderate amount of sunshine. They really don’t like hot, hot afternoon sun.

Look for a spot that gets good morning sun and partially shaded afternoon sun. Poinsettias also tend to do well on a patio or under a tree. Just protect them from full, hot sun or they dry out so fast that you have to water daily.

As the fertilizer begins to do its work, you should start noticing new branches. That’s the time to pinch another inch from each stem. Continue adding a quarter-strength fertilizer on a weekly basis or a full-strength fertilizer on a monthly basis. Also, be sure to fertilize while the soil is moist or you could burn the roots.

Watch for insects such as aphids and white flies, which tend to accumulate on the underside of leaves. Organic insecticides will help correct the problem, but be prepared to use them more frequently than heavy-duty chemical insecticides. Giordano’s carries a full line of organic products for just this purpose.

Watch the temperature

When the temperature starts to dip below 65, those poinsettias need to come inside once again. It’s also time to cultivate that deep red bloom. Beginning Oct. 1, make sure that plant gets a 12-hour night, that’s 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness — no walking into the room and turning on a light and walking out — or you delay flowering.

Some gardeners place a cardboard box over the plant during this 12-hour bedtime. Placing plants in a dark room from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. will do the trick. Return them to a space that gets plenty of sunshine during the day.

While this may seem to be a production, you only are going to do it for 8 weeks, to get the poinsettias to bloom in time for Christmas.

Once your poinsettias have bloomed, you don’t need to add fertilizer. Just keep watering as you did this Christmas. If the plant is located near a heater, be prepared to water more frequently.

Then, you start all over again.