Poinsettias enrich the Advent and Christmas season all over the country. In the new year, the potted plants usually end up in the trash. Wrongly! With these tips, you can easily cover the Christmas star.
Euphorbia pulcherrima – the most beautiful of the milkweed family, this is what the poinsettia is called botanically. With their attractive red or yellow bracts, the plants decorate many window sills and room tables in winter. But once the Christmas mood has faded, the Christmas star often sees its end too. The plant can be cared for over the summer without any complications and shine in new splendor in the next winter. We’ll tell you what is important when summering a poinsettia.
- Water little after flowering in January and February
- Stop watering completely in March
- From April more water and fertilize again
- Repot and cut back in April
- Set up light and warm over the summer
- Shorten the lighting time from September
- Enjoy the new bracts in Advent
Poinsettias “overwinter” in summer
The Christmas star originally comes from Central America. There the plant grows as a medium-sized shrub in the tropical climate. Cultivation as a potted plant for our living room is, therefore, a miniature. After the blooming phase in December and January, when the small yellow flowers pass, the poinsettia also sheds its colored bracts.
This is a completely normal process and does not mean that you now have to dispose of the poinsettia. Because after a regeneration phase over the summer, the plant can be brought to a new flower. What overwintering is for our native plants, for tropical plants such as the poinsettia is for summer.
Resting phase after flowering
If you want to spend the summer of the poinsettia, you have to give it a break after the flowering period. After shedding the bracts in February, water the plant only a little. From March onwards, the poinsettia can stand almost completely dry for about four weeks.
The growth phase of the milkweed family begins in April. Now you should water the plant significantly more and fertilize it every 14 days. Put the Christmas star in a bright place to spend the summer. In a draft-free place without direct sun, the poinsettia can even go outside in the garden from May.
Before the start of the summer season: repotting and cutting
If you did not repot the poinsettia immediately after purchasing it, you should do so in April at the latest. The substrate supplied is usually of poor quality. The potting soil in which the poinsettia hovers over should be rather low in humus. Cactus soil or a mixture of soil and sand is good for the Christmas star.
Plant the mini shrub in a slightly larger pot with good water drainage. Now is the right time to prune back Euphorbia generously. The poinsettia will grow more densely in the coming season. Water and fertilize the plant regularly over the summer.
After flowering, the plant will focus on its growth
This is how you stimulate the poinsettia to produce new flowers
If the poinsettia has over summer in the garden, you should bring it inside again in September, at the latest when night temperatures of ten degrees Celsius or more are reached. The tropical plant cannot withstand colder temperatures.
Now the Christmas star is being prepared for a new bloom: As a so-called short-day plant, the poinsettia only begins to bloom when the lighting length is less than twelve hours per day. The shortening of the days in autumn naturally ensures that Euphorbia pulcherrima goes into flowering mode.
Therefore, place the plant in a place in the house that is not artificially lit in the morning and evening. It is even easier to put a cardboard box over the plant in the late afternoon to fake it into early darkness. About two months later – in time for Advent – the poinsettia has again sprouted new colored bracts.
frequently asked Questions
Why does poinsettia lose its bracts?
The colorful leaves are pseudo-flower and are intended to attract pollinating insects to the actual small flower in the center of the plant. When the flowering phase is over, the plant can no longer be used for the dummy flowering and the bracts fall out. This is normal and not a sign of illness.
How much water does the poinsettia need in summer?
After a period of rest in February and March, the poinsettia begins to grow. From April onwards, Euphorbia pulcherrima should be kept slightly moist and fertilized regularly.
When do I have to darken the poinsettia?
After darkening begins, it takes six to eight weeks for new variegated leaves to form. Basically, you can choose the point in time when this should happen. The poinsettia is traditionally admired during Advent. In this case, you should start darkening at the end of September.
Why don’t colorful leaves form?
The bracts on the poinsettia only develop when the plant has switched to short-day mode. If the Christmas star is permanently in artificial light, for example on the living room window, the flower formation is not sufficiently activated and the colored leaves do not appear.