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Save Your Poinsettia for Next Year

Posted: Saturday, December 31st, 2016 at 6:21 am
Author: Sally Y. Hart - KCII News


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Now that the holidays are coming to a close and decorations are going back in their boxes for the year, do you know what to do with your poinsettias? Most people throw them out, but it is possible to save the plant and force it to flower again next season. According to horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the key to it reflowering is proper care. Cut back the steams to within four to six inches of the stem in March and re-pot it at that time. When new growth appears, put the poinsettia in a sunny window and water it when the soil surface becomes dry to the touch. It should be fertilized every two weeks.

Move the poinsettia outdoors in late May, first in a shady area and then gradually expose it to longer periods of sunlight. To obtain a compact, bushy plant, pinch or cut off the shoot tips once or twice from late June to mid-August. Continue to water and fertilize the plant outdoors.

In mid-September, bring the plant back indoors in a sunny window. To get the poinsettia to flower for Christmas, the plant must receive complete darkness from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.daily from early October until the bracts develop good color, usually early December. The dark period requirement can be met by placing the plant in a closet or by covering with a box. During the remainder of the day, the poinsettia should be in a sunny window.