How to Water A Poinsettia?
Euphorbia pulcherrima is a beautiful shrub native to Central America. But most people know this as the humble poinsettia without which a Christmas floral arrangement feels incomplete. One of the popular houseplants that tells “Christmas” with a burst of colors is the poinsettia. Though we do place it in floral displays, did you know that the red flower-like parts on the plant are just leaves? It is this interesting foliage of this plant that makes it extra special.
Like any other houseplant, this one requires a basic set of instructions to let the new gardener try to maintain the plant in good condition. Watering needs of the plant is one of the first aspects to learn. How to water a poinsettia such that you have a healthy plant that lasts you the whole year? Yes, it is not necessarily one of those plants that you buy for its seasonal growth and then toss it or let it grow dormant. The right level of watering, suitable frequency, and a variety of other factors combined help you decide the ideal watering needs of the plant.
What Do You Need in Order to Water Your Poinsettia?
How much water to use and when to water are the two most essential questions in nurturing poinsettias. These are plants that are relatively easier to care for. When you bring home a freshly potted poinsettia, you can easily extend its life showing off some vibrant colors all year long.
The key is to maintain the right level of moisture for these plants. Knowing how to water poinsettias is vital because, like most other plants, these cannot survive too much water as well as too little water. People often give up on their poinsettias post-Christmas. But these plants can stay fresh for a long time after that.
How to Water Poinsettias – The Procedure
Getting to the basics
1. Identify the frequency
The plant cannot survive in dry soil for a long time. It has to be kept moist. It also likes a little humidity. However, like most houseplants, knowing whether the soil is moist can be the real problem. On the top, the soil might appear dry, but the roots might still be wet. Adding more water during such times might lead to root rot. Here are a few things to consider before you decide how frequently you should water your poinsettia.
Pot size is also a factor that helps you understand the amount of water to use for these plants.
2. Amount of water
There are different methods of watering the plant to set aside all confusions.
There are no hard or fast rules in watering the plant concerning the pot sizes. The type of potting soil you use should also be taken into consideration. Use a well-draining soil that doesn’t retain too much dampness. Also, make sure that your planter has sufficient drainage holes. This lets excess water drain even if you do go a little overboard when it comes to the quantity of water for the plant. A small 4” planter might need around 174ml of water, and an 8” planter might need 570ml. Always keep the specific needs of your plant and the season in mind when you water it. Not all poinsettias are potted in the same type of potting medium, and therefore some might need more water and more frequent watering.
How to Know Whether Your Plant Needs Water?
3. Weighing your pot
When to water your poinsettias is the next main thing to understand. One of the easiest ways to know whether your soil is still moist is to weigh the plant. Watering schedules are often adjusted based on trial and error, depending on how your plant responds in the ambiance. After a thorough watering cycle, weigh your planter. When you pick the pot next time, if it feels lighter than earlier, then the soil is not damp anymore. You can use a weighing scale for your reference if you wish to understand subtle weight differences, especially in smaller pots where it is difficult to feel the change.
4. Feel the soil
The other easy and also a straightforward method to know whether your plant is thirsty would be to feel the dirt. If there is still dampness below, the soil often feels slightly cold on the top. Sometimes it appears dry on top, but there is moisture beneath. Poke your finger into the pot and see if it comes out clean. If there is the dampness that you feel or if potting soil sticks to your finger, then there is still some moisture.
There are some plants like succulents where you should let the soil completely dry out between watering cycles. In some of them, you can even wait till the leaves show subtle signs of shriveling. These contain thick fleshy leaves with a huge reserve of water in them. That is not the case with poinsettias. These come with thin foliage that doesn’t store much water. So, unless you feel the soil to be dripping wet, you can give it a gentle splash.
5. Investing in a moisture meter
A moisture meter is a boon for the new gardeners. These come handy for the skeptical houseplant owners who always have their doubts about soil wetness. You do not have to put your finger in the dirt. You do not have to weigh and remember how much your plant weighed when wet. Without all the calculations in your mind, you can go by the direct readings that the device shows.
The soil moisture meter comes with a probe that you can insert into the deeper layers of soil to know how moist it is way beneath. If the meter points out that the soil is dry, do not wait to water your poinsettia.
Ways to Water The Plant
6. Picking the right type of can
The right type of can significantly reduces the efforts in watering. It also ensures that you do not disturb the foliage or the soil layer on the top while watering the plant.
A slender spout watering can help you reach the soil in the case of busy plants. With the low clearance, you would be able to accurately reach the soil and water it without disturbing the soil. These cans also come handy if you have placed your poinsettia on a high shelf and do not wish to pick it down. This can also be a mess-free option for the poinsettias placed indoor.
A normal sprinkler attached watering can comes handy for the regular watering routines. Without too much pressure the can helps give the plant a nice shower. You should, however, be careful about accidental water spills while using these watering cans.
Make sure that you know how much water there is when you use a watering can to water the poinsettia. Do not empty the entire can as it can lead to a lot of mess where you place the planter.
7. Deep watering
Forgiving the plant a deep shower, there are several ways to do it. Once a week or sometimes more frequently, your plant might need a thorough watering from the top layer to the bottom. This ensures that the entire root system gets drenched and grows well. There are 3 ways to do it:
8. Water splashes
If you prefer every day watering, then you can use small quantities to keep the soil slightly wet on the top. You should, however, continue to check for dryness as this method doesn’t let the water reach the lower layers of potting soil. Even if you sprinkle a little water every day, a deep watering routine once a week or once in two weeks can be good for the root system. Keep a check on the occasional splashes you give to make sure that you do not let the soil stay sloppy wet. Use the same quantity of water every time for easy reference.
Maintaining the Humidity Levels
9. Use a good mister
Proper humidity levels can keep poinsettias happy. There are some efficient plant misters available for the avid houseplant hoarders. You can find some small watering cans with mister attachments in them. These can make worthy investments to take care of poinsettias. Do not overdo the misting where the leaves are dripping wet. A light misting can refresh the foliage and keep the plant healthy. Misting once a day would often be sufficient for a healthy poinsettia plant. Make sure that you cover the whole foliage while you are misting the plant.
10. Pebble tray arrangement
Another way to maintain humidity levels without touching the foliage is to use a pebble tray arrangement. This is where you place a tray filled with water and place some pebbles in it to prevent the rapid evaporation of water. Place the tray below the planter. It helps water slowly vaporize and increase the humidity levels around the plant consistently. This can be good for the foliage and also for the prolonged freshness of the plants irrespective of the weather outside.
The pebbles also make sure that the water from the tray doesn’t make its way back to the pot. It can lead to watering the soil from below, keeping the roots consistently moist, which is not suitable for the plant. Make sure that you change the water in the tray frequently to avoid mosquitoes. Empty the pebble tray immediately if there is dirty water from the pot’s drainage hole collecting in on the days where you water the plant.
Besides the above-mentioned tips, watering the pot from the bottom up can also be another option. This is where you immerse the pot in a tub filled with water till you notice the top layer of soil turn slightly damp. Some users use ice cubes to water the plant consistently, keeping the soil wet. Whatever be the method you follow to make sure that you listen to your plant needs and water it accordingly.
The rapport that you share with your plant tells you better about the watering demands and frequency. An occasion mix of liquid fertilizer with the watering schedules can further enhance the growth of the plant. It can also keep the foliage looking fresh and bright. Hope you enjoyed reading about the essential and straightforward tips for watering a poinsettia. Do you have any other tried and tested method for keeping poinsettia alive for a long time?