January 13, 2019
Many of us had a beautiful poinsettia for the Christmas holidays. These plants certainly brightened what can be a dreary weather-wise part of the year. Now what? Do you keep it or toss it? Let me share some tips for enjoying your poinsettia year round. First, put your poinsettia in a warm sunny window and water normally. As far as temperature is concerned, if you’re comfortable your poinsettia will be too. Temps below 60F can cause leaf drop. Remember these are tropical plants native to Mexico. In spring start decreasing watering and allow it to dry out a bit. Cut the stems back to about 4 inches. Don’t worry it will grow back. Repot into a bigger container. When night temps stay above 60F move outside, the poinsettia will love your porch or patio. Remember to water and fertilize as needed. Prune the stems back 1 to 2 inches a couple of times during the summer to promote bushier growth. When night temps start hitting 50F in the fall, bring the plant back inside. Now comes the fun part, can you make your poinsettia “bloom” for Christmas? Beginning October 1st use a box to cover and keep your plant in total darkness for 14 continuous hours every day for at least 6 weeks. There’s no guarantee, but hopefully it will be ready for Christmas. If not, I will guarantee there will be plenty of colorful poinsettias to pick up at the garden center to enjoy. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.