To begin with, it is important to take care of your poinsettia plant during its blooming season, usually from November through January. The plants are best kept inside in 68 to 70 degrees F. As poinsettias are sensitive to cold, if they are in temperatures under 50 degrees F, they will wilt. Place their container where the plant will receive six hours of indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist but not wet.
Once the holidays are over, keep the plant in a bright location and continue to water the plant but only as needed to keep the soil almost dry. By April, allow the soil to dry and prune back all parts to approximately 4 inches above the soil. When outside night temperatures reach 55 to 65 degrees F place the plant outside in a shaded but bright location. Slowly move the plant to a full sun location. Use an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer to fertilize every two weeks. Keeping the poinsettia pruned during July and August to the height you wish it to be will make for a bushier plant come December.
As Fall approaches and night temperatures begin to drop, bring your poinsettia inside and place it in indirect sunlight as you continue to care for it by watering and fertilizing. As poinsettias are short-day blooming plants, for them to bloom, they must be kept in complete darkness for 12 hours the months directly before their blooming season. Thus, beginning in October, the plants need to be put in a dark room and covered with a box during the night to ensure no light gets in. Return the plant to light during the day and keep up its care. By the beginning of December, you can have your plant in light all the time and begin the care described in paragraph two. It is best not to fertilize during the flowering season when bracts and flowers develop.
As you can see, caring for a poinsettia requires time and patience, but the rewards will be worth it. Seeing a beautiful poinsettia plant bloom year after year that you have lovingly cared for will bring a sense of satisfaction as well as a plant of beauty to enjoy.