The poinsettia, more commonly known as ‘Christmas star,’ is a popular houseplant during winter. It’s a flowering plant, and its vibrant red color has made it a favorite decoration during the holidays. However, poinsettias are actually pretty finicky when it comes to watering. So, how often should you water a poinsettia?
Poinsettias don’t require much water. Water them only when the soil is completely dry — usually once a week. Provide just enough water to moisten the soil but not to drench it. Always follow your plant’s lead. Check it frequently and water more or less frequently depending on the season and climate.
Poinsettias are highly susceptible to root rot and leaf drop. That’s why more poinsettias are killed by overwatering than by underwatering. To keep your poinsettia healthy and thriving, you’ve got to understand how to water it properly. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about watering your poinsettia.
How Much Water Should You Give Your Poinsettia?
Poinsettias are native to Central America and Mexico. In their natural habitat, they grow in shaded areas with plenty of humidity. This means that they don’t need a lot of water to survive. In fact, poinsettias (on Amazon) don’t like to be over-watered, so be careful not to give them too much.
For reference, a 6-inch potted plant needs about half a cup of water per week. A small tree, meanwhile, needs about 1 to 1.5 cups of water per week. If unsure, it’s always better to underwater your plant than overwater it— only water when the soil is dry and never let the plant sit in water.
How Often Do Poinsettias Need Water?
Ideally, you should water your poinsettia once a week. However, this may vary depending on the size of the plant, the type of pot it’s in, and the temperature and humidity of your home.
For example, if you live in a hot and humid climate, your plant will likely need to be watered more often than someone who lives in a cooler climate.
A general rule of thumb is to water your poinsettia whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. To test the moisture level, touch the soil with your fingers and only water when necessary.
Another method to be sure your plant needs watering is to poke a stick deep into the pot. Whenever the two inches of the stick come out dry, it’s time to water your plant.
Can You Overwater a Poinsettia?
Yes, you can overwater a poinsettia. In fact, overwatering is the number one reason why poinsettias die. The signs of overwatering include wilting leaves, yellowing leaves, and leaf drops.
If they’re accompanied by wet soil, it’s definitely a case of overwatering. When this happens, it’s best to stop watering your plant and let the soil dry out completely.
Poinsettias are also susceptible to root rot, a fungal disease that occurs when the roots are constantly wet. This can happen if the plant is sitting in too much water or if the pot doesn’t have proper drainage. Root rot is a severe problem and often leads to plant death, so it’s important to be careful when watering your plant.
What to Do if You Overwater Your Poinsettia
If you think you’ve overwatered your poinsettia, don’t worry! There are a few things you can do to save your plant.
First, take a look at the plant and determine how bad the damage is. If just a few leaves are wilting or losing color, it’s probably not too late to save your plant. The plant will likely recover once you stop watering it.
You can also try putting the pot in a sunny spot to help the soil dry out faster. But don’t leave it in direct sunlight for long, as poinsettias prefer shady areas.
However, if there are mushy roots and leaf drops, the plant is probably hit by the root rot. In this case, you can try to replant the healthy parts. This may save the plant, but it’s not always successful.
To repot your poinsettia, remove the plant from the pot and gently shake off the excess soil. Cut away any mushy or black roots and replant the healthy parts in a fresh, dry potting mix. Be sure to use a pot with proper drainage, and don’t water the plant for at least a week.
Wait for a few days to see if the plant recovers. If it does, give it a little bit of water and place it in a shady spot. If the plant doesn’t recover, it’s probably best to start over with a new plant.