So you were gifted a lovely poinsettia for the holidays?

So you were gifted a lovely poinsettia for the holidays?

So you were gifted a lovely poinsettia for the holidays, but you’d like to keep it year-round? Say no more! Most people treat poinsettias as “disposable plants”, tossed out after the season. But with a little TLC, they can keep producing blooms for you year after year. Key points for encouraging flowers to bloom and the plant to stay alive are:

* A sunny room with no drafts.
* Temperatures around 55F to 65F at night and between 65F and 70F during the day.
* Protect from temperatures below 50F.
* At least six hours of indirect light per day.
* Water only when the soil is dry in the top two to three inches.
* Water thoroughly each time, letting it run through the drainage holes. Overwatering and pooled water are very damaging to poinsettia. If you have bought a plant during the holidays, it probably has a festive plastic or foil wrap decorating the container. Remove this to avoid standing water and place the pot on a tray instead.

During the holiday season, you can keep your poinsettia healthy and blooming with these conditions, but also apply fertilizer. Use an all-purpose, water-soluble product about once a week. After the holiday season, cut the plant back to the point where you have just a few leaves left. Continue with regular watering, but less often. Stop or drastically cut back on fertilizing too. You can also transplant it to a larger pot with good potting soil at this time. Once it’s warm enough outside, you can move your poinsettia outdoors. Find a spot where it will get good morning sunlight and some afternoon shade. Bring it back inside before it gets too cold in fall.

Bringing your poinsettia back to life begins in early October. Getting it to create colorful bracts and flowers once again is a matter of getting light conditions just right. The secret is to put the plant in darkness for 14 hours each day and bright light for the other 10 hours. To do this, you can move the plant into a closet or dark room for a 14-hour period. Alternatively, place a box over it. If using a box, make sure there are no cracks to let in light. Even a small amount of light during the 14 hours can interfere with the plant’s production of buds. If you do it right, you should get colorful bracts again after two months! But above all, start your plant journey off right with a fresh, beautiful poinsettia from us here at The Garden of Eden!

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