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Embracing Your Poinsettia Post-Christmas: Tips for Alberta Gardeners

Red Poinsettia in bloom | Salisbury Greenhouse, Sherwood Park, St. Alberta

The holiday season’s excitement has faded, and now, nestled on your countertop, is a poinsettia that’s outlived the festive cheer. What’s next for this vibrant plant?

In Alberta, we see two kinds of poinsettia enthusiasts. The first enjoys the plant as a festive decoration, then says goodbye once the season ends. But the second type? They see beyond the holiday glitz and welcome the poinsettia into their family of houseplants.

Your poinsettia, although not as perky as it was on Christmas Eve, isn’t destined to wilt just yet. As a tropical beauty, it’s ready to flourish under your care, well beyond the New Year’s celebrations.

Caring for Your Poinsettia in Alberta’s Winters:

Those stunning red leaves? They’re actually bracts, not true flowers, and their job is to attract pollinators to the tiny, central blooms. Post-New Year’s, these blooms fade, but that doesn’t spell the end for your plant.

Revitalize your poinsettia this January with a dose of all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. It’s been a while since it last received nutrients, and this will give it a much-needed boost.

Position it in a sunny spot, shielded from both cold drafts and intense furnace heat. Room temperatures between 18-21 degrees are ideal. When it comes to watering, less is more. Wait until the soil feels dry to the touch before watering again. Overwatering is a common pitfall – remember, this plant hails from Mexico and thrives with a bit of drought.

With proper care, your poinsettia can retain its vibrant color for weeks, even months, after the holidays, bringing a splash of life to your home during the Alberta winter.

Transitioning to Spring Care:

As spring approaches in Alberta, your poinsettia’s holiday hues will fade. If you’ve nurtured it this far, you might be thinking about preparing it for the next holiday season.

When it starts to look leggy, trim it back to about 5 inches above the soil. If it’s getting cramped in its pot, transplant it to a slightly larger one. Resume feeding it with your all-purpose fertilizer bi-weekly, encouraging lush green growth.

Be cautious with sunlight exposure during the spring. Gradually acclimate your poinsettia to full sun to prevent leaf burn.

The Challenge of Rebloom:

Deciding whether to rebloom your poinsettia for next Christmas is a bit of a commitment. However, even if you choose not to, the plant can still be a charming addition to your indoor garden.

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