With any luck, your Poinsettias have made it through the holidays unscathed, and you are wondering what to do with them now. Many people treat them as a “seasonal” florist plant and discard them, replacing them next year with new ones. However, if you hate throwing perfectly good plants away, you might be interested in learning how to keep your Poinsettia growing until next Christmas, and how to make it bloom again. Here are some steps to help you succeed:
- Locate a sunny window to grow your Poinsettia in until temperatures remain above 55 degrees outside, at which time you can move it out to better growing conditions for the summer. (Morning sun is best)
- Cut your plant back to about 6” tall and transplant to the next size pot, no more than 4”-6” wider than the pot it is in. Use a quality potting soil.
- Water when the soil approaches dryness, taking it to the sink or outside so you can really SOAK it when you do water. Do not let it sit in water in a saucer, and avoid using softened water.
- Fertilize once a week with a half-strength fertilizer such as Dyna Grow Foliage Pro 9-3-6 formulation. This will encourage the leafy growth which the plant needs before it flowers.
- Pinch back the growing tips every 3-4 weeks, leaving 5-6 leaves per stem. This will encourage the plant to be full and bushy.
- Discontinue pinching the plant back in early September, as flowers will be forming soon.
- In early October, or before temperatures go below 55 degrees outside, bring your plant inside to a sunny window.
- In order for the plant to set flower buds, it will require 14 hours of COMPLETE DARKNESS every night for about 6 weeks. Simply place the plant in a dark closet when you get home from work every day and take it out before you leave for work in the morning! You may want to set an alarm on your phone as a reminder, as without consistency for 6 weeks, the plant will not bloom!
- When you start to see the top leaves (called bracts) begin to darken, you no longer need the closet treatment. Keep the plant in a sunny window, and continue to water and fertilize regularly until fully colored.
Well, there you have it! Don’t be too disappointed if your blooms are not as large and prolific as those grown by professionals in greenhouses. Since this is what they DO, they have learned to do it WELL! Be proud that you have succeeded in bringing the plant into bloom one more time! Good show!