DENVER — Our homes aren't the best places for poinsettias. These natives of Mexico prefer a bright, humid environment. It's exceedingly dry in most homes in winter.
To keep your poinsettia healthy, keep it away from heat sources such as heat vents and fireplaces. It will likely drop leaves due to the stressful transition from the greenhouse to your house. Most people take this as a sign they should water it more. This is a huge mistake.
Wrapped in a foil deathtrap, the plant's roots can't breathe in a bog. The water can't drain so the roots rot and the plant dies.
To prevent this, poke a hole in the bottom of the foil wrapping or remove it altogether. Place your poinsettia in a saucer filled with gravel or marbles. This way, the water can drain from the pot. As the excess water evaporates, it creates a more humid environment for the plant.
Even better, group your poinsettia with other plants so they can create a buddy system of humidity. I like to use a wide, low wicker basket lined with plastic. Plants that can be combined with poinsettias include cyclamens, ivy, ferns, and many others. Support plants in smaller pots with various plastic storage containers to get them to the same level.
Keep the plants in bright light with moist but not soggy soil. With care, your poinsettia and companions will look great well into the new year.
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