How to keep your poinsettia looking good all season

Poinsettias can last well into the springtime if maintained properly.

Winter is here, and it's the time evergreens and wreaths are flying off the shelves. But winter is also the season for poinsettias, a popular choice for holiday decorations.

At Earl May Nursery in Ottumwa, manager Jim Bremer said poinsettias begin selling the week of Thanksgiving and well after Christmas into the New Year. But how should you take care of it to make sure your poinsettia lasts all season long?

The first trick is to pick a plant with dark green leaves and vibrant color, with no drooping leaves. Most poinsettias have six leaves per flower, so ones with less may not be healthy.

Then, it all comes down to the watering.

"Poinsettias are a plant that needs to be [moist]," Bremer said. "You don't want to let them dry clear out, if they dry clear out, like with some houseplants you can let them get completely dry, then water them, poinsettias you want to keep them moist- not soaked, but moderately moist all the time. If they droop, if the leaves droop on them and they're dry, rarely will they come back up again."

The best way to tell if there is enough water is to pat the soil around the plant and make sure there is enough, but not too much, water.

If kept in a well-lit area, but not in direct sunlight, poinsettias can last well into the springtime.