Poinsettias: year after Year

For most of us, Poinsettias are symbolic of Christmas and the Christmas season. They’re not a common garden or landscaping plant. However, as Woods Houghton points out in the following article, with a little care, they can make a very nice specimen or house plant for all seasons.

Poinsettias can be kept year after year, and they will bloom each year if you give them proper care.

When the leaves begin to yellow or when the plan is no longer desired as an ornamental, gradually withhold water. The leaves will pale and fall, and the colorful bracts will be the last to go. After all the leaves have fallen, store the plant in its pot, in a cool dry dark area. Keep the plant on the dry side, water only to keep the stems from withering.

In April or May, bring the plant out of storage. Cut the main stems six inches above the soil level. Remove the pot and old soil from the roots. Repot the plant in fresh medium having good drainage. Place the pant in a warm, sunny spot for renewed growth. Keep the humidity high to encourage rapid new growth. Once the pant is active apply a week fertilizer once a month.

After frost danger is past, sink the pot into a protected and sunny bed. Light shade is ideal during the hottest part of the day. Lift the pot occasionally to prevent root growth into surrounding soil.

Keep the poinsettia actively growing all summer by watering and fertilizing regularly.

To obtain a bushy plant pinch new shoot back so that at least two nodes remain on each until late August. Remove week stems completely, so only a few of the stronger one develop.

As cool fall weather begins, take the plant inside to a south window with full sun. Poinsettias do best in full fall sun and the bracts (apparent petals) obtain their deepest color in good light.

The poinsettia is known as a true long-night plant. This means that the plant must be in total darkness for about 14 hours out of every day for a four-week period to form flower buds. In late September or early October make certain the poinsettia receives no artificial light after nightfall.

For more information Contact your Local County Extension office and ask for guide H-406. This and all programs are available to everyone regardless of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, or veteran status. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating to put knowledge to work.

Eddy County Extension Service and New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Eddy County Government, New Mexico State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating, to put knowledge to work.

Woods E. Houghton

Eddy County Agriculture Extension Agent

1304 West Stevens

Carlsbad, NM 88220

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