After-Christmas Poinsettia care is important for lasting color and next year bloom. The holidays are over, and many people including myself have poinsettias around the house and are wondering how to care for them. Many people treat poinsettias like an annual house plant to be tossed out either when Christmas is over, or the plant is finished flowering. In fact they are a deciduous shrub that can live outdoors in zones 9-11. We live in southern California so I usually move mine outside into the yard, but other than keeping them watered, I don’t do anything special or encourage them to flower the next year. The most popular color is red, but every year more new colors appear as shown in my post, It Must be Christmas Time, which I published last year.
This year I’ve decided to take on the challenge of encouraging my plant to flower again next year. Below are the instructions I found on the web, and in several gardening books that I own or borrowed from the library.
- When indoors keep near a window with bright filtered light. Poinsettias prefer a temperature between 65-75 degrees F. Do not let leaves touch a cold window.
- water regularly and keep soil evenly moist. Poinsettias should never sit in water. When the surface of the soil begins to feel dry it is time to water the plant until water drains out of the bottom. Be sure to remove access water from the saucer.
- While in the house, fertilize your plant once or twice a month with a liquid fertilizer.
- When new growth begins under the colorful bracts, it is time to cut back the old flowering stems. The new stems should be higher than the old. This cutting back will happen in February or March. Keep the plant near a sunny window. A north facing window is least preferable. Continue to fertilize every other week.
- If the plant becomes too large for its pot you can transplant using a mix of 2 parts potting soil and 1 part vermiculite or perlite.
- After the danger of frost is over you can move you Poinsettia outdoors. to a slightly shaded area. Continue to keep soil evenly moist.
- During the month of August prune all new shoots to about 4 inches leaving a few leaves on each shoot.
- .As fall approaches, take your plant indoors before the first frost.
- To encourage your plant to re-flower you must keep it in complete darkness from 5p.m. to 8a.m. daily from the end of September until color begins to show.
I am grateful for the information I found on the many garden websites that I read when wanting to learn about Poinsettia care. I certainly hope that it is helpful to you. I’m looking forward to trying these methods on my own plant. I’d love to read what you think and if you have had successes getting your own Poinsettias to re-flower.
Here is another photo of my Poinsettia showing some new growth. I had success getting my Christmas Cactus to re-flower, and hope I can do the same with this year’s Poinsettia.