GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Caring for your poinsettia begins right when you purchase it.
Its trip from the store to your car should be a short one, and the plant will definitely need to be protected from the cold. Typically, placing it in a large plastic bag tied or twisted shut at the top will do the trick.
Once home, your poinsettia wants bright but indirect light. That means, find a room with plenty of windows but with a spot where the sun doesn’t directly shine. Keep it away from a window or door, where drafts can damage the plant.
You want the soil to dry out between watering. Stick your finger into the soil and at least the top inch should be dry before you water again. And if yours came in a foil wrapper, poke some holes in the bottom of it to allow for drainage. Your poinsettia definitely does not want to be sitting in standing water.
Then don’t give up on your poinsettia after the holiday season! When the leaves and bracts begin to fade and droop, cut the plant back and give a cool, dry home with less light until spring. Then bring it back out into bright sun. It will live happily outside in the summer. Then in August bring the plant inside.
Give it another trim and find a warm, but dark, location for it to live. Ideally, the poinsettia should receive about 15 hours of complete darkness per day. Keep watering as usual. The darkness will trigger the plant to produce colored bracts for the upcoming holiday season and many more to come!