How often do you water poinsettias?

How often do you water poinsettias?

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The question is not so much “how often do you water poinsettias” but “how do you know when a poinsettia needs watering?” Here’s what you need to know.

Growing condition preferences

Poinsettias like to be in bright but not direct daylight, out of draughts and be out of standing water. This means that they don’t like standing in excess water. This creates a welcoming environment for root rot and other fungal diseases.

A general rule for when to water your poinsettia

Watering your poinsettia is part of caring for it (see How to care for poinsettias for more details overall). In general, and definitely for the winter holiday season, wait until the top of the soil or compost feels dry before giving the plant water.

How to water the plant

Make sure you don't water over the leaves of poinsettias, water onto the soil or by placing the plant in a tray a water for 15 minutes to soap it up
Make sure you don’t water over the leaves of poinsettias. Water onto the soil or by placing the plant in a tray of water for 15 minutes to soap it up

It’s essential that any excess water you put into the poinsettia pot drains away. I personally recommend two ways to water this (and any) houseplant.

Remove the plant pot from any decorative pot it’s in (this is how I grow them), and take off any foil or other wrap that it’s encased in for Christmas as this is how they often come. Place the pot in a sink and water from above but do not water over the leaves. Leave there for a while, allowing the excess water to drain out.

Or remove the plant pot and let it sit in a few inches of water in a tray or sink. This allows the soil to draw up just the water that it needs. Take it out of the water and, once again, let it drain excess water. This is the best way to avoid overwatering which is also a common issue which can result in wilting leaves often being mistaken for not getting enough water.

Keeping the plant past January

I like to remove my poinsettias from the decorative pots and let it soak the water up
I like to remove my poinsettias from the decorative pots and let it soak the water up

If you plan on re-blooming your plant next year, keep on watering it when the top of the soil is dry until past April.

In the late spring, usually around May and after you’ve re-potted the poinsettia, water it in well, But keep to the general rule of watering after this. (See How to get poinsettias to turn red again for details on this process.)

In June and July, the plant may need to be watered more frequently. Check how dry the soil is on a daily basis.

Keep regularly checking the soil moisture and watering when needed until you take the plant if you have grown in outdoors in warm weather in September.

When the poinsettia is in its night-time routine in October and November which is important to encourage the red foliage, you can reduce the watering to weekly.

And in December when the colourful bracts are in full bloom, go back to the general watering rule of when the top of the soil feels dry.

This is all a general guide. Watering can also be affected by the temperature of the room, how large the plant is, and how large the pot is. If you follow this guide, you won’t go far wrong.

You can also learn about feeding poinsettias here. If you have pets, you may be wondering if poinsettias are poisonous to cats and days; you can learn more about this here.

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