Poinsettias Back in Bloom Again
poinsettias to reflower is not easy, but with some patience and
care it can be done.
Winter - Early Spring
back each of the old flowering stems to 4 to 6 inches in
height. Do this in February or early March. This will
promote new growth.
Spring - Summer
Repot into a 2-3 inches in diameter larger
pot. Make sure the soil mass is moistened and place in a
sunny window. When all danger of frost has passed and night
temperature are above 60•F the plant can be placed
outdoors. Place the poinsettia in a shady location for two
to three weeks to allow it to become acclimated to the new
environment. Then sink the pot in a sunny protected outdoor
flower bed. Light shade during the afternoon is okay.
Turn the poinsettia pot regularly to prevent
rooting through the bottom hole. It is suggested that a
quarter turn each week will prevent this and will also help
to keep the plant growth even all around the pot. If the pot
is not turned, one side may get more sun than the other.
If you prefer a short plant with many flowers,
pinch out the growing shoots to encourage branching.
Pinching should produce more flowers and a nice bushy plant.
This should be done at 3 to 4 week intervals, according to
the speed of growth. Pinch out the top 1/4 inch by hand. Two
or three large fully expanded leaves should be left below
the pinch; this serves as a guide for knowing when the
shoots are ready for pinching. Continue this practice until
mid- August, when the plant should have a satisfactory shape
and number of shoots.
Keep the plant growing actively all summer by
regular watering and feeding every two weeks with a complete
soluble fertilizer (20-20-20).
Before night temperatures fall below 55-60°F
at night, bring the poinsettia indoors to a sunny location.
Check for pests and diseases and place poinsettia in a south
Flowering is "photoperiodically"
induced in the poinsettia. This means that flowers begin to
form when the days are a certain length, or, more
accurately, when the nights are long enough. The poinsettia
is a short-day or long-night plant. Without long nights,
this plant will continue to produce leaves and will grow but
will never flower. You must make certain it receives no
light from any source.
Very short periods of lighting at night may be
enough to prevent or interfere with flowering. Even light
from a street light can stop flowering. If the plant is to
be grown in a room that is lighted nightly, cover it
completely at dusk (5p.m.) every day with a heavy paper bag,
a piece of opaque black cloth, other light-tight cover or
place in a dark closet.
Flower initiation begins in late September and
early October. Dark periods longer than 12 hours are
necessary for flower set. Flowers mature in from 60 to 85
days depending on varieties, temperature and light
Because flower initiation depends upon the
length of the dark period, your poinsettia must be kept
completely dark from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. The time to give this
treatment is from the end of September until December 15.
Once you can see the flowers developing in the
growing plants, i. e., when the floral bracts start to show
definite color, it is not as important to continue giving
the dark period, though it is advisable to continue until
the bracts are almost fully expanded.
Temperatures should be no less than 55°F at
night, but not more than 70°F. During the day give the
poinsettia as much sunlight as possible.
Reduce the amount of fertilizer given after
bringing the plant indoors. Growth is slower in the lower
light intensity inside the house.
High night temperatures, coupled with
low-light intensity, low nutrition, dry soil or improper
photoperiod may delay maturity.