Wait–Don’t Toss That Poinsettia!

Don’t toss your poinsettia just because Christmas is over.  Now if it’s all bare and wrinkled…well, good riddance.  But a healthy plant’s striking red leaves (or pink or white depending on the variety) add so much color and life to your house during the winter months. Besides, keeping a poinsettia and getting it to bloom again next Christmas is a fun project and so simple that I’ve even done it.  Here’s how:

Now is the time to repot your plant in a little bigger container for its roots to grow.  I use standard potting soil and a pot with good drainage.

In the latter part of March or the first part of April, prune back your plant. At the ehow website they suggest cutting your plant back 8 inches.  In the past, I have not pruned my plant and it looked stringy instead of compact and bushy.  This year, I’m going to prune my plant on April first and if necessary, will prune again in the summer.  But no pruning after Sept 1st!

To encourage new growth, fertilize the plant at least every month.  Keep it watered, but not drowned, and put it in indirect or filtered light.

Right after Labor Day, I put my plant to bed every night in a totally dark closet.  Poinsettias need about 14 hours of total darkness every day to stimulate their blooming.  The color transformation of their leaves from green to red takes about 10 weeks.

I’ve had so much fun doing this before that I’m doing it again this year.   I hope you’ll try it and have fun with it, too.

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