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Saving Poinsettias

Saving Poinsettias

Posted - Jan. 3, 2004 at 7:14 a.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Can I save my poinsettia and rebloom next year?

The choice is yours. Sometime after the holiday season, you need to decide if you are going to keep your poinsettia around for the year. Look seriously at your poinsettia before deciding whether it should go or stay.

Poinsettias will last for several months although they often stay well past their welcome time, and end up being a few stalks in a pot. Make the decision now whether or not you are going to keep that plant looking good and try to rebloom it next spring or whether you prefer to dispose of it and start over again next year.

If you plan to keep the plant, place it in a sunny window during the day. Water the plant as needed, but never let the plant stand in water as stem or root rot will quickly kill the plant.

Fertilize the poinsettia with houseplant fertilizer every 2-4 weeks, according to the directions on the fertilizer. Do not allow it to become chilled or be in hot or cold drafts.

Watch for insect problems on the plants. Poinsettias often develop problems from white flies, aphids, or scale. If any of these insects are a problem, consider disposing the plant or correct the problem using insecticidal soap or an indoor houseplant insecticide.

Keep the plant green and actively growing until summer. Once danger of frost is past, move the plant outside in a semi-shaded location out of the wind. Pinch or prune the plant back so that it develops a nice, bushy shape.

Before danger of frost, bring the plant indoors and continue to grow it in a nice, sunny window. The long night/ short day process to get the plant to flower by Christmas must begin between September 15 and October 1.

Every afternoon at 5:00 p.m., place the poinsettia in total darkness. At 8:00 a.m. the next morning, remove the plant and place in a sunny window. Darken the growing environment by putting the plant in a dark closest or covering it with a lightproof box or cloth.

Once the schedule is started, it cannot be forgotten or interrupted even once. Continue the routine for about three weeks until color starts to show on the top leaves or bracts of the plant. Fertilize the plants regularly with a high phosphorous fertilizer. Do not be disappointed if the blooms are not as big or showy as commercially grown poinsettias.

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