Poinsettia Care

Unlike years past, poinsettias are no longer throw-away plants after the holidays. If watered regularly (remove from the decorative cover pot and allow water to drain out, do not let the plant sit in water) and kept away from heater vents, improved hybrids are now bred to withstand the indoor conditions of heat, low light as well as longevity. To keep it looking bright and healthy, place your poinsettia indoors with bright, indirect light until evening temperatures are in the 60s and all danger of frost has passed (around St. Patrick’s Day). At that time, take them outdoors, but acclimate them over a 2-week period, by first placing them in partial shade and gradually moving them to a sunny location. Cut the plant back to 8-inches in late March or early April. Plant in full sun or keep them in their original pots for another year. Water regularly and feed with an organic fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growth period. If in June, the plant needs another trim to keep it compact and bushy, prune for shape. Poinsettias are photoperiodic, meaning that they produce colorful flowers (actually bracts) as the autumn nights lengthen and as they receive 14 hours of darkness each night. If in a pot, place in a dark closet for 14 hour and take out for 6-8 hours of bright sunlight every day beginning October 1. Follow this regimen for 8-10 weeks, continue to water and fertilize regularly, and your efforts should be rewarded with colorful blooms for the holidays.