How to keep your poinsettias alive through Christmas and into the New Year

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 December 2017

Red poinsettas tend to fade in colour if in low light

Red poinsettas tend to fade in colour if in low light

© Guy Sagi

It’s a mystery many of us struggle with every Christmas: the premature death of our most festive houseplant before the big day has even arrived.

Poinsettias only require a small amount of water once every few days [Hannah Stephenson/PA] Poinsettias only require a small amount of water once every few days [Hannah Stephenson/PA]

Kenneth Freeman, an expert on interior plant welfare and technical director at interior plants specialist Ambius (ambius.co.uk), has some top tips to help keep your poinsettia perky through the festive season and beyond...

1. Unwrap them immediately

White or pink poinsettias will look better for longer display periods [Pixabay/Ambius/PA] White or pink poinsettias will look better for longer display periods [Pixabay/Ambius/PA]

Poinsettias must be unwrapped from their sleeves as soon as you get them indoors.

2. Keep them warm

Poinsettias are indigenous to the warm climate of Mexico and don’t do well sitting in cold vehicles or buildings, or being watered with cold water. In fact, this can substantially reduce their lifespan. When positioning your poinsettia, don’t place them near cold draughts or near to outside doorways - they prefer warm and light conditions.

3. Don’t over-water

While they can consume a lot of water, poinsettias should never be allowed to stand in water. They only require a small amount once every few days.

4. Give them a pick-me-up

While wilted poinsettias may have their lifespan reduced, soaking the rootball with warm water will often cause severely wilted poinsettias to revive. Revival should occur within one hour, so don’t chuck out your plants until you have tried this.

5. Choose your poinsettias wisely

White or pink poinsettias will look better for longer display periods (over three weeks). Red ones tend to fade in colour if in low light, and after more than three weeks.

The poinsettia can provide a modest alternative to the Christmas tree, but if this doesn’t take your fancy either, then there are other alternatives to choose from.

Both the Christmas cactus and hippeastrum, often erroneously called Amaryllis (a bulbous plant), can be found in most supermarkets and garden centres.

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