Winter rose poinsettia, known scientifically as Euphorbia pulcherrima, is a classic plant for winter holidays.
It produces large blooms in gorgeous bright colors such as red, pink, or marble. This article teaches you how to grow the most exuberant winter rose flowers this holiday season.
- What Is a Winter Rose Poinsettia?
- Winter Rose Poinsettia Care
What Is a Winter Rose Poinsettia?
Winter rose poinsettia is a shrub from Mexico usually grown as a winter holiday plant. Its blooms are made up of tiny yellow flowers that are surrounded by large modified leaves that are bright red, pink, white, or marble in color. Its blooms can last from winter to early spring.
Winter Rose Poinsettia Care
If you want to know how to care for a Winter rose, study the below guidelines in depth. You won’t be sorry as you enjoy its lovely blooms.
– Water Requirements
Water your poinsettia rose plant deeply but wisely. This means you need to allow the soil to dry at least 30 to 50 percent before watering it again. We usually check if the first two to three inches have dried and proceed with watering accordingly.
Some ways to check the dryness of the soil include putting a pencil or a toothpick into it. Some gardeners make do with their fingers and feel how dry the soil is. The exact measurement of the soil’s dryness can be found through a moisture meter. It is available easily online and is very light on the pocket.
Proceed with watering once you have the green signal from the method you use. Use a good amount of water and slowly pour it on the soil until it comes out of the drainage holes.
Collect this draining water in a pan which you then empty right away. If there is one thing that can kill this plant immediately, it is overwatering. Consistently keep checking the soil and the pot to ensure that their drainage is adequate.
Suppose you can then have your water checked by a nearby laboratory. Mostly, tap water contains salts and minerals that cause problems for houseplants in the long term. Unless you are certain that your tap water is safe, we suggest you use only distilled water for this plant.
– Light Requirements
Poinsettias require at least six hours of bright, slightly diffused light daily. It needs to be kept as near the windows as possible when growing indoors. It will survive being placed in a corner under low light conditions, but its blooms and growth will suffer consequently.
A window to the south gets very intense light, and you can place this plant as near as a foot from it. If it seems like the light is too intense and your plant’s leaves seem to be turning brown at the edges, move the plant a bit farther away. Alternatively, you can pull a curtain over the window during the brightest part of the day.
The other windows in the house are all 100 percent safe for this plant. If the leaves start turning dark and the plant produces fewer blooms, you might consider installing artificial grow lights. They come at extremely reasonable prices and can be turned on for a long period. Your plant will grow and flower better than ever under LED grow lights installed above it.
If you want to grow this rose plant outdoors, slowly acclimatize it to the light of higher intensity. The ideal spot we found was under a tree where it received just the bright and dappled light it likes.
– Soil Requirements
If you want to pot or repot your rose poinsettia plant, then a peat-based mixture works best. Since this plant is extremely sensitive to overwatering, you need to add some draining elements to your peat-based potting mix.
The best drainage comes from adding perlite or vermiculite. Both are inorganic and mineral-based ingredients that create channels for the proper flow of water and air around the roots.
Another trick we love to employ is to put a piece of filter paper or the use of a layer of gravel at the bottom of the poinsettia container. Then pour the potting mixture that you had prepared beforehand. This prevents peat’s slow but inevitable washing away each time you water your plant.
– Temperature Requirements
This plant needs a range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit temperature during the daytime and slightly lower temperatures during the night.
This drop in temperature once the sun goes down and the night sets in is the only time it can tolerate colder weather. Other than that, it cannot tolerate colder conditions and will start suffering from leaf drops.
Keep it away from AC vents even in the summertime if you want to experience a good bloom later.
– Humidity Requirements
The winter rose plant needs 50 to 70 percent ambient humidity levels. Your house probably only has around 30 to 45 percent humidity on average. You can also confirm this by using a hygrometer. This means you need to take some steps regarding improving humidity artificially.
First of all, never mist a Winter rose plant. These are super sensitive to water on their leaves and will quickly succumb to powdery mildew or leaf spot diseases. The second option is to get a humidifier and keep it running 24/7. However, this will make your indoor air too humid and uncomfortable for you to breathe.
Use the hygrometer to see which is the most humid room in the house. This will usually be the kitchen, washroom, or laundry room. Put your plant there and other similar plants to create your mini greenhouse.
A humidifier will work best if you can spare a separate room to keep the plant in. The best thing you can do is to fill a container with clean water and place it next to your plant’s pot. The water will evaporate slowly throughout the day and increase moisture levels by 15 to 20 percent.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Fertilize this rose variety every month only when the plant is not actively blooming. Fertilizers, especially nitrogen-based ones, can suppress flowering. Since this plant blooms in the winter, you can start fertilizing in the spring and carry on till fall.
Any phosphorus-based fertilizer from a reputed manufacturer will work. You must mix water with it to decrease its strength by half before use. If the fertilizer ends up falling on leaves and stems instead of the soil, this can lead to the development of chemical burns.
That is why going organic is a better option for Poinsettia. Mix manure, compost, or worm castings within the top potting mix layers every two to three weeks using a rake. Worm castings are classic compost mixed with live worms, and it helps improve the quality of your growing medium.
You can also opt for a slow-release fertilizer twice a year in the spring and summer. That is if you are not using liquid fertilizer regularly. Using both forms of fertilizer simultaneously will lead to overfertilization and chemical burns. The slow release form is manufactured as pellets and powder mixed in the potting soil like compost.
Pruning is the most important part of growing this plant and getting it to bloom yearly. The first pruning must be carried out in early spring – in May – when you repot it in fresh new soil. This time you need to cut back three to four inches using a sharp pair of scissors.
It would help if you carried out the second pruning mid-summer – in July. This time you only need to cut one inch at the growing ends of the flowering stems. When cutting these stems, try to cut at an angle rather than a blunt cut.
If you already own a poinsettia as a houseplant, you can use cuttings from its stem or seeds from its flowers to propagate new plants. Stem cutting propagation is most effective in the spring, whereas you can sow your seeds from mid to late winter.
– Stem Cuttings
Stem cutting propagation is the most suitable method of propagating a Poinsettia. This method works better for the hybrid species compared to seed propagation.
- First, prepare pruning shears or scissors by ensuring they are sharp and disinfected. It would be best if you wash your tools before taking a cutting as well as after you are done.
- Secondly, you must select a healthy stem from which you can take the best cutting. Check it thoroughly to ensure it has no problems like pests or diseases.
- Prune off five to six inches of your chosen stem in one sharp cut. There should be two leaf nodes on this piece, although you must eliminate the leaves growing from them.
- Apply a small amount of gel or liquid from a rooting hormone to the cut end of the rose cutting. The rooting hormone helps your propagation fight off infections and promotes better growth.
- Mix a well-draining peat-perlite-based potting soil in the center of which you need to plant your cutting. You can add a bit of compost to the mixture as a food source for the growing plant.
- Water it regularly and see that it gets six to eight hours of sunshine daily.
- In a few weeks, new roots will grow and establish sufficiently so that when you tug at the cutting, it shows resistance. Leaf and stem growth will follow soon after.
– Seeds Propagation
Seed propagation is also very easy, but you might not get the same hybrid variety as the parent plant by using this method.
- Take out your seedling tray and fill it with a suitable potting medium for poinsettia. We use sphagnum moss to soak in water for an hour or two after it has been left.
- Soak your seeds in clean water for eight hours as well, right before planting.
- Even out the layer of sphagnum moss in the tray and gently plant these seeds over it.
- Gently push each seed only a quarter of an inch in the moss, giving it access to sunlight.
- To give the seeds the right humidity for germination, put the whole tray in a plastic bag under bright light.
- Every second or third day, remove the tray from the plastic and re-sprinkle the moss with water, so it doesn’t dry.
- By three to four weeks, all the healthy seeds would germinate. After this, remove the tray from the plastic but keep the moss moist like before.
- After one month, you can see that the newly germinated plants have grown big enough to be transplanted into their container.
A Poinsettia winter will give you little trouble if taken care of properly. Occasionally, the plant might suffer from complications such as leaf yellowing, root rot, or pests.
– Leaf Yellowing
When this plant is under stress, its leaves turn yellow, especially around the central veins. Nutrient deficiency is the most overlooked reason why this problem arises. Carefully go through your fertilizer label to ensure that it contains the required levels of molybdenum and magnesium.
A lot of times, careless overfertilizing also produces leaf chlorosis. This happens when you fertilize this plant more frequently than required without taking the necessary precautions. Always dilute the fertilizer and water the roots deeply before feeding poinsettia.
An overwatered and sunburnt plant will become yellow too. In case of overwatering, the leaves will be inflated and mushy. In case of sunburn, the leaves will be crisp, dry, and paper-thin instead. Again, the only thing you can do in this case improves your care for this plant.
– Root Rot
As we mentioned above, this is not a plant that can tolerate being watered excessively. It becomes swollen with yellow leaves and then succumbs to root rot caused by fungus in the soil. Large brown and black rot spots form on the water-soaked leaves, followed by a severe leaf drop.
Unfortunately, just spraying with an antifungal will not cut it. You must first depot this plant and remove it from the soil. Wash the roots very gently, then wrap them in absorbent paper so that all the water absorbed into them can be removed. You will have to change multiple papers until the plant dries up again.
Meanwhile, take out your gardening scissors and cut off the completely rotten parts of the plant. If more than one-third of the plant has become rotten, it is best to discard it. Otherwise, repot the pruned plant in new soil and pot after it has dried. A liquid copper fungicide sprayed every week for the next two months will help revive this plant.
– Fungus Gnats
If there has been a sudden onslaught of flies flying around your rose plant, this could mean only one thing. These flies lay hundreds of eggs per day within the soil. Later, these eggs hatch into larvae that feed on your roots and cause malnutrition in the plant.
Mix one part of hydrogen peroxide with four parts of water to make a solution that kills gnats. Pour it onto the soil right after watering it deeply. Watering is important to protect the roots from damage. Repeat this procedure every three to four days for a few weeks.
It would be best if you also got rid of the flies, so they lay no more eggs. One way is to keep spraying whenever they appear around your plant. Another way is to put a few pieces of bright yellow fly paper near the plant every day. These flies are greatly attracted to this colour and become trapped easily.
– Powdery Mildew
If you get your plant wet every time you water it, it will most definitely succumb to this fungal infection. Mildew is also seen in cases when the plant is being grown in a dark, damp, and cramped place for a long period.
Mildew can be spotted in a second from a mile afar. The whole plant assumes the appearance of being covered with white powder.
If you look closely, the leaves will be covered by a layer of white mold that comes off when you wipe a finger over it.
Take a few drops of neem oil and soak a paper napkin with them. Wipe off the mold using it and see how easily it all comes off. Make a neem oil or vinegar-based foliar spray for spraying on the affected plant every week. The use of harsh chemical insecticides is not recommended for a mild disease such as mildew.
How often do you water Winter Rose Poinsettia?
Water Winter Rose Poinsettia when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering, as it can cause root rot.
How do you get Winter Rose Poinsettia to rebloom?
To encourage reblooming, provide 12-14 hours of darkness daily for 6-8 weeks, followed by bright indirect light during the day.
Why do the leaves on my Winter Rose Poinsettia keep falling off?
Leaves falling off Winter Rose Poinsettia may indicate overwatering, cold drafts, or insufficient light. Adjust watering and environment accordingly.
Let us quickly summarize the most important care points regarding Euphorbia pulcherrima.
- Give this poinsettia variety six hours or more of natural dappled light.
- Water only after ensuring that 50 percent of the potting mixture has become dry.
- This plant cannot tolerate being overwatered or when water is splashed on it during watering and will easily succumb to fungal infections.
- Even though it is a winter plant, it needs warm temperatures to bloom.
Using our easy and no-nonsense guide, you will no doubt grow the most successful winter plant this holiday season. Don’t forget to share some of these euphoric blooms with friends and family!
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