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Seasonal Tip

After Christmas Care: Poinsettias
December 01, 2009

Poinsettias are a favorite plant to give and to receive during the holiday period. Now that the holidays are over, what can be done to keep them in the best of health?

Admittedly, the poinsettia is one of the most difficult holiday plants to get to re-bloom successfully. If you would like to try your hand at it, the instructions are listed below.

After your plant has finished blooming, set it in at least four hours of sun per day and continue to water and fertilize as needed. As the months progress, you will notice that the red bracts will begin to transition back to a solid green color. Soon, it will take on the appearance of a standard houseplant.

At the end of May, cut the plant back to about 1/3 its original size and either sink the pot in a sunny garden outdoors or place it into a container in a sunny location. Rotate the pot about halfway each month so that the plant does not root into the ground. If you can't put the plant outside, keep it in a sunny window. Water as needed and fertilize regularly for the summer.

Cut back by one-third in early August, repot if necessary, and continue fertilization. Bring your poinsettia inside before the first of October, when you will start the 14-hour night regime. For approximately 8 weeks, the plant must have alternating periods of 14 hours uninterrupted darkness and 10 hours sunlight. After this treatment, the plant can be returned to its "normal" environment if the bracts have colored up well.

With some luck and proper care, you can enjoy your poinsettia next holiday season too.

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