How to make the poinsettia red

The Euphorbia pulcherrima , commonly called poinsettia, is a plant widely used in landscaping usually marketed and popularizes at Christmas time. It is a plant that is usually treated as if it were an annual, but it is possible to keep it throughout the year so that it survives more than one season.

However, many of those who are made with one of these plants acquire them for the striking red color that their leaves can take, of an intense and very beautiful tone. In this article we are going to see how to make the poinsettia turn red .

Because my poinsettia does not grow red leaves

” My poinsettia has green leaves ” is a very common phrase to hear when someone who begins to know the world of gardening and has bought one of these plants discovers that its leaves are not always red.

The red leaves of the poinsettia are actually bracts , which serve to prepare the plant for flowering. For this reason, outside its flowering season , which occurs in December, it is very common for the leaves to take on a green hue. In addition, if the plant does not receive adequate conditions , especially during the rest of the year, when the following winter arrives it is possible that it will not prepare an adequate flowering and, therefore, its leaves will not adopt that attractive red tone that so many look for in the Christmas time and stay in a pale or pink tone.

How to make the poinsettia red - why my poinsettia doesn't grow red leaves

How to make the Poinsettia turn red

There are several things that need to be taken into account for the poinsettia to achieve a pretty bloom and its striking red leaves in winter. Take note of these tips so that the poinsettia has red leaves at Christmas :

  • The first thing is that, if you have had it for a previous year, the plant needs to go into vegetative rest after its flowering season , as is the case with many others. After the Christmas season, reduce the waterings to one per week, and place the plant in a cool place away from heat sources. In this way, the poinsettia will enter those months of rest that it needs. It is especially important to keep it away from radiators, air conditioners or any other source of heat, which can spoil both its vegetative rest and its health: plants need to go through different seasons.
  • In addition, you should prune the Poinsettia towards the end of January if you want its leaves to be red next Christmas. Cut the branches to about 10 cm, with sanitized and very sharp pruning shears, in diagonal cuts. Carry out this pruning only if the plant has shed its leaves.
  • In spring, with the arrival of heat, it will be necessary to transplant the poinsettia . Use universal substrate mixed with earthworm humus and sand, thus ensuring that the mixture will offer a very good drainage and a high supply of nutrients. 
  • Finally, between September and October it is advisable to start subjecting the plant to dark sessions. Leave it for half a day somewhere that is totally deprived of light of any kind , either by putting it in a container with holes or in a dark room. Also, avoid bringing it close to heat sources.

If you follow all these steps, it is very likely that when Christmas comes your poinsettia will show bright red bracts and very striking. If it still resists, you can use special fertilizers for the Poinsettia plant , which promote coloring.

Why do poinsettia leaves wrinkle and how to get them back

It can happen that the leaves of the poinsettia plant wrinkle and dry , even falling off. Typically this occurs because the plant is in an area where there are harmful fumes of some kind in the air. It may be tobacco smoke or any other type, but if you see that the leaves of your Poinsettia are wrinkling and drying, it is without a doubt that they are causing damage. Remove it from that environment to place it in one with the cleanest air, and with this change the plant should recover in a short time.

It can also happen that the leaves turn yellow and fall, which can be caused by too high a temperature and excessive dryness in the environment or lack of light. To recover the poinsettia when this starts to happen, water the plant some more and spray room temperature water on the leaves. This and some compost and natural light should help her recover.

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