Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are natives of southern Mexico and were first discovered there in the early 1800s. While the crimson variety of poinsettia is by far the most popular, these flowers are actually available in a wide range of hues, including yellow, pastel pink and even bicolors. Traditionally considered Christmas flowers, poinsettia plants are often disposed of after the holiday when their leaves begin to drop, but these plants are actually tender perennials that can thrive for many seasons to come when provided with the proper care.
Place the poinsettia plant in a south-facing window that receives an abundance of sunshine and is free of drafts.
Keep the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit while the flower is blooming to encourage the blooms to last longer.
Water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Add water until it begins to drip into the tray under the pot. Do not allow the poinsettia to sit in the water; instead drain off any excess within a few minutes of the initial watering.
Feed twice per month with an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer during the growing season.
Reduce watering frequency and stop fertilizing in late winter after the majority of the leaves have fallen off. Examine the poinsettia plant often and add just enough water to keep the stems from wilting.
Clip the plant back after the leaves have dropped until only the two best-looking buds remain.
Choose a location in your garden to plant your poinsettia after all danger of frost has passed for your area. These plants do best in full to partial sun. It is a good idea to plant them in a protected location, such as near a wall or porch, to prevent damage from strong wind gusts.
Dig a hole that is a 2 to 3 inches larger in diameter and 2 to 3 inches deeper than the pot your poinsettia is growing in and put it in the ground.
Continue to water the poinsettia whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Once new growth begins to emerge, fertilize weekly with an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Bring the plant back inside before the first fall frost occurs. To encourage Christmas blooms, place the poinsettia in a totally dark location for 14 hours each day beginning in early November.