Follow the easy tricks from this post and learn How to Get a Poinsettia to Turn Red and keep its vivid beauty indoors forever!
Though Poinsettias come in many varieties with different colors, the red one stands out the most! If you want to make sure that the plant takes that fiery shade every year after fall, then here’s all you need to know about How to Get a Poinsettia to Turn Red.
Read about poinsettia care tips and growing guide here
What Makes Poinsettia Red?
Unlike other plants that need good long hours of sunlight and a big day to get bright colors on their leaves and flowers, poinsettias are strongly photoperiodic, meaning they need long and daily dark periods to initiate flower buds and the coloring of the upper leaves or bracts.
The Most Important Secret to Turn Poinsettias Red
Phytochrome, a plant pigment in the poinsettia, gets strongly affected by how long it is exposed to the dark period and plays a vital role in turning the plant red. In simple words, short days and long dark nights of autumn and winter induce redness in this plant, just like Christmas cactus, and to make your indoor poinsettias very red–you need to provide them more duration of darker hours than the brighter ones.
Have a look at the most attractive poinsettias here
How to Get a Poinsettia to Turn Red?
1. THE NUMBER ONE TIP – Keep Poinsettia in the Dark
The plant requires sufficient partial sun, filtered light, or bright indirect natural light in the daytime and total darkness every evening. Have a look at some crucial points:
- Keep poinsettia in complete darkness for 12-16 hours, followed by 6-8 hours of partial or indirect sunlight in a day by keeping it on your brightest window. Do this for 6-8 weeks to force it to get that red hue.
- Remember that any form of light can interrupt the process of turning poinsettia red again. It needs to be in complete darkness.
- In just 4 weeks, the bracts will change color and become red. At that point, you can stop this, and if you want better color continue this nighttime darkness routine till the plant turns utterly red in the next 2-4 weeks.
- For this, you can keep the plant in the darkroom, or if you can’t provide that, place it in a cupboard or cover it with a big cardboard box every evening.
2. Watering is Crucial
At this time, do not let the soil dry out completely for a long time, or the plant will droop, and the appearing red leaves may fall. You have to keep the growing medium a little on the slightly moist side to help the plant get that red color, but anyhow you’ll have to avoid keeping the soil consistently wet too. Feel the topsoil and water when it becomes a bit dry using your index finger or insert a moisture meter.
3. A Little Humidity Please
The indoor air is dry in winters, and it becomes drier when you turn on your heating appliances. This dry air can reduce the longevity of colorful poinsettia leaves, which is why it’s crucial to increase relative humidity. The best way to do it is by using a humidifier. Of course, there are other ways too:
- Keep a bowl of water in the cupboard with the plant.
- Group your poinsettia with other houseplants.
- Place its pot on a saucer filled with pebbles and water.
Make sure the water level is below the pebbles, so that base of the pot won’t touch the water and poinsettia roots don’t get wet.
4. Feed them Just Once When Starting the Process
Fertilize the plant using a 15-16-17 or 20-10-20 blend, diluted to 1/4 or 1/2 of its strength, just once or twice before you start putting it in the darkness. This will provide the much-needed boost for the plant to grow to its best health and color.
5. Maintain a Steady Temperature
The plant is sensitive to freezing temperatures because it is native to Mexico, so ensure it is not exposed to cold drafts or sudden temperature changes. To change its color, maintain a minimum temperature around 60-70 F (15-22 C) during nighttime. If you live in a hot climate, you don’t have to worry about that.
Pro Tip: Pick ‘Sonora’ and ‘Red Elegance’ if you want the best red color.
Follow the best ideas to decorate your home with poinsettia here
A Quick Rewind
- Begin to move the poinsettia in a dark room from September or October and continue for up to 8 weeks to make it red by Christmas.
- When you keep it in darkness at night, it is crucial that you also take the plant out the next day to give it bright daylight.