Christmas poinsettias require very little care to last all season long and beyond. Here are two simple pointers that are key to having success with your poinsettia.
Water sparingly! The number one problem in caring for poinsettias is overwatering them. They prefer to be kept on the dry side. How much and how often to water them will vary based on the humidity of your home and size of your plant. Best practises would be to check them for moisture either by sticking your finger in the soil or lifting the plant to see how heavy it is. Almost all poinsettias are sold in a plastic pot cover to protect your furniture. However these do not have drainage! Make sure after watering your plant that there is no water sitting in the bottom of the pot cover. An overwatered poinsettia will become limp and droopy -- often causing people to think they are dry and give them water. This compounds the problem and a poinsettia left sitting in water for any length of time will have it's roots rot off. Once this has happened there is no chance for recovery. A poinsettia that has gotten too dry will start to loose it's crispy looking leaves and get droopy --- however once watered the droopiness should disappear in a matter of hours. Any crispy leaves simply need to be plucked off the plant.
Keep away from cold air & drafts! Poinsettias are tropical plants and are very susceptible to cold temperatures. Always make sure to transport them in a paper/plastic sleeve inside of a heated vehicle. They will not tolerate being placed in an unheated trunk! Once placed in the home take care to make sure they are not too close to an exterior door or a furnace vent or alternate heat source. They prefer a more consistent temperature and will show signs of stress if they have sudden temperature changes either hot or cold.
Poinsettias do not require a lot of nature light and can easily be enjoyed in any place in your home or workplace. When keeping them over from year to year they will require more natural light through the summer months and can even be placed out doors if preferred. During the summer months your plant will grow and the new leaves will be green. It may loose most or all of it's fancy colour (red or otherwise). Poinsettias turn the traditional red or other colours with the shortness of days and must be kept away from artificial light sources in order to turn red again in time for Christmas. It's often most successful to place them near a window in a less used area of your home in the fall where the lights will not be turned on.