Caring for your Poinsettia this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, which means people may be looking to introduce a bit of festive greenery into proceedings. Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are one of the most common indoor plants used to deliver a little extra festive cheer in UK homes and businesses. They can be found in most supermarkets and garden centres and often form part of Christmas seasonal displays in offices and retail centres. As well as the traditional bright red plant, different varieties include deep red (almost maroon), cream, pink and white are also available.

Recently, Ambius discovered an appetite for bold colours this Christmas with 40% of 162 office workers that we quizzed during a plant giveaway in July, saying that they planned to have a predominately red colour scheme this year at home. This was a more popular choice than gold (26%), silver (17%) and white (10%), suggesting that a traditional red Poinsettia could be the perfect choice for adding a splash of festive colour.

Poinsettias have a reputation for being short-lived and difficult to maintain, even over the relatively short period they are in our homes or offices. Here are five tips to help your poinsettias look good for longer.

  • Unwrap: Poinsettias must be unwrapped from their sleeves as soon as you get them indoors.
  • Keep 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 life spans. When positioning your poinsettia make sure not to place them near cold draughts or near to outside doorways.
  • Don’t over water: While they can consume a lot of water, poinsettias should never be allowed to stand in water. Give them a pick-me-up: Whilst wilted poinsettias may have their life span reduced, soaking the root ball 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.
  • Choose 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. Whilst many of us will start to think about bringing the tinsel and baubles out, recent research from Ambius found that a quarter of UK workplaces will not participate in any Christmas decorating this year. This despite the fact that the presence of a real Christmas tree in the office can work wonders, particularly as 24% of office workers find the scent appealing too.

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. If you don’t feel comfortable selecting the right decoration for your office this season, then indoor landscaping and plant experts are always on hand to help you make the right decision for your situation.