Experts warn against this poinsettia mistake you could be making before you've even got it home

This poinsettia mistake is an easy one to make

poinsettia sat on a windowsill in festive red pot
(Image credit: Getty)

A sea of ruby red poinsettias in the flower section of the supermarket is a sure sign that the festive season is upon us.

By learning how to care for a poinsettia, you can actually keep yours going for several months, or even all year round. This indoor gardening feat does however take advanced levels of plant care prowess.

And there's one fatal poinsettia mistake you'll definitely want to avoid making — before you even leave the shop.

poinsettia in red pot

(Image credit: Pkants4Presents)

Avoid this poinsettia mistake

'These sensitive plants can easily be damaged during transportation from garden center or florist to home,' comments Stars For Europe (opens in new tab). 'So ensure they are properly wrapped in paper at the shop — without leaving any foliage exposed to the elements.

'You would ideally put [it] inside a bag for safe measure,' the experts add. 'This is very important!'

Poinsettias are one of the best Christmas plants for the festive season, making brilliant gifts. But as well as regular watering, they need careful attention, particularly when it comes to fluctuations in temperature.

Christmas light in the shape of a star with three potted plants including a pink poinsettia

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Ideally, you want to keep your red plant at a minimum temperature of between 59- 72˚F (15-22˚C). 'You wouldn’t expect a thin-skinned prize pooch to brave the wilds of winter without a coat and a similar attitude should be adopted towards your poinsettias,' says Stars For Europe. 

The plant experts say these plants hate absolutely nothing more than a cold draft. So avoid putting your poinsettia in a chilly window where it could suffer from from this. 

Don't leave it in a particularly sunny spot that gets hot in the middle of the day either, or too close to a radiator.

woman watering a poinsettia plant

(Image credit: Getty)

Celebrity gardener Monty Don has also warned against putting this festive foliage in rooms that get cold at night, making conservatories and front porches no-go zones. Writing on his blog (opens in new tab), the Gardeners' World host says that if you can keep yours in a room that stays at a relatively steady temperature, it will thank you.

The poinsettia is no doubt a high-maintenance plant, but not all of the best indoor plants need so much TLC. Will you be embracing these festive albeit fussy plants in your home this year?

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.