Search For The Answer
Click here to access our database of
Plant Answers
Search For The Picture
Click here to access the Google database of plants and insects
Information Index
Alphabetical Listing of Topics, Recommendations and Plants


Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Express News Weekly Article
Saturday, December 25, 2004
By Calvin Finch, Conservation Director, SAWS, and Horticulturist

Care of Poinsettias after Christmas

Poinsettias are the favorite holiday flower. Today you are probably admiring your poinsettias. They are very decorative when they come fresh from the nursery or florist and can stay attractive for months if you follow a few easy care guidlelines.


  1. Poinsettias should never dry out to the point of wilt. The typical plant has a relatively small root system supporting a large top with lots of leaf surface that is transpiring moisture. If you can, place a catch pan under the container and water when the soil surface dries to the touch. The water ideally should wet the whole root ball and begin to trickle out the pot into the catch pan. This may mean water every day or every other day. The second best option is to use the ice cube trick. If you can water the poinsettia well once per week, placing 6-8 ice cubes in the container every day will do a good job of keeping the soil adequately moist. You could become quite sophisticated with the ice cube tactic and calculate exactly how many cubes you need to provide all the water needed each day. To learn how to calculate the exact need, visit and click Christmas Tree and Poinsettia Care.


  1. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold weather. Even a short trip in air that is below freezing can hurt the foliage. Keep the cover on the plant when transporting it from one location to another. Poinsettias make great decorations outside and just inside the door but if you want to keep the foliage at its top form for a long period do not use them outside when temperatures fall below 40 and do not display them in a spot where cold air will make contact with the plant when the door is opened and closed.


  1. Hot dry air will reduce the attractiveness and longevity of the poinsettia. Avoiding the stream of hot air from the heat register is obvious. A poinsettia in front of a West-facing window may be subjected to a blast of heat when the afternoon sun hits the window. Avoid such situations if possible.


  1. Poinsettias provide wonderful color over a long period even if they are displayed deep in the bowels of the house but they probably remain attractive the longest if they are in a location where there is bright light from a window but not necessarily any direct sunlight.


  1. Fertilizing the poinsettia is really not necessary but a limited amount of water-soluble fertilizer once per month may contribute to a longer period of high performance.


  1. These suggested rules for maximizing the life of your poinsettia should not prevent you from using them in less than ideal locations. Put them where they meet your decorating goals best for the party or when guests are visiting. Move the plant back to a better location when possible.


In 3 to 5 months (sooner if you let it dry out or subject it to high or low temperatures) after the Holidays, the poinsettias will decline. At that time, you will have to decide what to do with the plant. I usually toss mine in the compost pile, but you could keep it alive through the summer and attempt to produce the colorful foliage for next year. It is not as difficult as it used to be because the new selections are day neutral and it is not necessary anymore to do the complete dark routine for twelve hours every day.

When the plant declines this spring, cut the stems back to 6 or 8 inches and place it outside in the soil or a 5-gallon or larger container. A sheltered location in morning sun is ideal. Just water it through the summer and protect it from cold in the winter and your poinsettia could grow to be quite large and make a good show every year. A poinsettia in the ground can be fertilized with half a cup of slow release lawn fertilizer every three months. Use a water-soluble fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks for plants in a container. Treated in this manner, your poinsettia may even outlast the other traditional holiday item with a long life, the holiday fruitcake.

Happy Holidays to everyone. Bring joy to yourself and stay healthy by spending more time in the garden in 2005.