Going into the Christmas holiday, The Grow Monster found a pretty good 3 for $10 deal on 4 inch pots of Poinsettia, so like any plant lover we bought some. We brought them home and used them to grace the counter and above the fireplace mantel. Before too long, we noticed the Poinsettia leaves starting to wilt. With the holidays, it is easy to neglect the watering needs of plants. We set off to find the best way to water a Poinsettia.
You should water a Poinsettia thoroughly when the top surface of the soil is dry to the touch and the poinsettia container feels light-weight when picked up.
The inside of a house during the winter months can be pretty dry and one needs to pay particular attention to the watering needs of plants -especially Poinsettia- during this time. The Grow Monster now found ourselves looking into how often to water a Poinsettia plant. Read on to see what we found!
What is the Best Way to Water a Poinsettia?
The best way to water a Poinsettia is to provide water only when the top surface of the soil is dry to the touch and the Poinsettia container feels light-weight when picked up. A light-weight container indicates the lack of moisture in the soil. This will be dependent on the humidity, or lack-there-of, in the house as the air humidity can be pretty dry during the winter months. You may have to check daily or weekly depending on the climate.
Provide enough water for the soil to be moist, but not sopping wet. Many of the Poinsettias you purchase at the store come with a decorative foil outer wrapping covering the pot. Mike Schnelle of Oklahoma State University suggests you can leave them in the foil, just puncture the bottom of the decorative foil and add a dish or saucer under the plant to ensure that the water is able to drain away from the plant. Otherwise, the water will begin to pool and the plant will drown.
Water the plant until you see water dripping out of the bottom of the container, then stop. Again, you want the soil to be moist, but not sopping wet. The key to water a Poinsettia plant is to water slowly enough that you will notice the water coming out of the holes in the bottom. If you water too quickly, you may end up over-watering your Poinsettia plant.
Can You Over-water a Poinsettia?
Poinsettias can easily be over-watered if they do not have adequate drainage. Because many poinsettias from the store come in decorative foils, you need to either remove the foil or punch holes through it as mentioned previously. A separate dish or saucer is required to enable the water to drain and collect away from the plant. Poinsettia roots need oxygen which requires good airflow throughout the soil. Allowing the surface of the soil to dry in between watering will ensure that the plant is not getting too much water.
Do Poinsettias Like to be Misted?
Considering that poinsettias come from tropical forests of southern Mexico, they might appreciate an occasional daily mist. Misting can be therapeutic for both yourself and the plant. However, if the plants are getting regular watering when the surface of the soil becomes dry, that should be enough to sustain the plant.
Misting only brings additional humidity to the surfaces of the plant that are above the soil and should not be considered a ‘watering’. Though, if you choose to mist, mist only the leaves and not the soil surface. Getting mist on the soil surface might provide a false indicator for when you check to see if the plant needs water. You might believe the soil is moist, causing you to think that the plant doesn’t need water that day, when in reality the soil below the surface is bone-dry and thirsting for more water.
The Grow Monster Says…
“Misting does NOT equal watering.”
Can You Water Poinsettias with Ice Cubes?
Poinsettias and other plants can be watered with ice cubes. When finished with an ice-cold beverage, placing the remaining cubes in with the plant may be a greener alternative than throwing them down the drain. Ice cubes provide a controlled release of moisture into the soil as the ice cubes melt. If your ice-cold beverage is a daily ritual, both you and your plant can enjoy a good thirst-quenching together. As with regular watering, be sure the soil does not become sopping wet in the container and that there are enough ice cubes melting to provide moisture to the bottom of the container.
How Much Water Do Poinsettias Need?
Poinsettias come in many sizes in addition to various sizes of containers and will require varying amounts of water. You may be wondering How much water does a small Poinsettia need? How much water does a large Poinsettia need? But, perhaps the question you are really asking is, “How much water does MY poinsettia need?”
The amount of water needed by your poinsettia is directly correlated to the volume of soil in which it is planted along with the amount of water required to make the soil adequately moist when watered, but not sopping wet. If you want to know the quantity of water needed to make your poinsettia moist, we can apply a basic scientific method with this simple (pardon the pun) flow chart. The assumption with this method is that the plant is potted in a container.
Step 1: Fill 1 Measuring Cup with Water
In this example, we are using 1 measuring cup as the unit of measure to water a Poinsettia. You may want to use a different unit of measure depending on the size of plant you are working with and/or how accurate you want to get with your measurements. Perhaps you want to use a half-cup for smaller plants. Either way, make sure you know how much water you are adding to the plant.
Step 2: Pour Water Around Base
You will want to pour the water evenly around the base of the plant so that it will get distributed evenly into the soil. If the water pools on the top of the soil, you will want to pour it slowly. This may mean waiting a short time until it is absorbed into the soil before you continue pouring the rest of the water into the soil. If you do not wait, you risk spilling the water over the side of the container and getting an inaccurate measurement of the water required to water a Poinsettia.
Step 3: Observe: Did Water Drip from the Drainage Hole(s)?
After pouring the water evenly into the container of the plant and waiting a short period of time, did water begin dripping out of the drainage holes? If not, go back to step 1 and fill another cup of water and go through the process again. If you do see water dripping, proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Notate How Many Cups of Water Needed
This is the step where you record how many cups of water you will need for your given plant. You will need this amount of time each time you water a Poinsettia.
Will the Amount of Water Needed for the Poinsettia Change Over Time?
As your Poinsettia grows, the watering requirements for your Poinsettia will change over time. The number of roots will increase, and you will eventually need to re-pot the plant. The method described above sets an initial baseline for your plant to ensure it is getting an adequate amount of water given its current conditions.
Poinsettias are really beautiful plants and keeping them adequately watered over the winter is certainly important to extending the life of the plant. Many people assume that Poinsettias are to be thrown away after the Christmas holiday because, yes, they do whither and wilt over a short period of time following the holiday. This does not have to be so. With adequate watering along with a few easy steps in caring for them, they can make it through to the next Christmas holiday and beyond.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, take some time between watering your Poinsettia and start planning your Spring garden! If you’re looking for a way to quickly and easily germinate seeds, check out The Grow Monster article for a complete step by step guide with pictures.
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