Monday, December 28, 2009

Will a poinsettia re-bloom?

Christmas is over. The decorations have been carefully packed away, the wrapping paper and bows are stored for next year and everything is back in its place. Only one thing still says "Christmas." The poinsettia that was so pretty for a couple of weeks now sticks out like a sore thumb. Anyone who loves plants faces the same dilemma every year. Do I try to keep the poinsettia alive or let it die the way God and Lowe's intended?

If you enjoy a bit of a challenge, by all means try your hand at keeping the poinsettia healthy for next year. But if you don't like to be bothered with regular care, you'd be better off buying a new one next December. Poinsettias need specific care at specific times. Here's a month-by-month description of what it takes to develop a "red" thumb.

January through March: Continue to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Avoid drafts and direct heat. If your house has low humidity, you might need to water almost every day. Don't let it sit in water.

April: Decrease water in stages; let plant dry between watering. Watch for a shriveled stem (the plant is dying). After 10 days or so, move it to a cool spot at around 60 degrees F.

May: Cut back to about 4-6 inches and re-pot in a bigger container with fresh soil that drains quickly. Water well. Put it near bright light and keep at 65 - 75 degrees F. Water when the soil feels dry. New growth should emerge; fertilize every two weeks with a complete fertilizer. Move the poinsettia outside to a partially shaded spot. Keep watering and fertilizing.

July: Pinch back each stem by about one inch to encourage branching and keep the plant from getting too leggy.

August: In mid-August, pinch back again (leave 3-4 leaves on each shoot) Bring indoors and back in a bright spot. Water and fertilize.

September: Keep temp above 65 degrees F.

October To bloom, poinsettias have to have 10 weeks with 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. EVERY DAY. Put the plant in a completely dark box or space for 14 hours every night. Give it a sunny spot for the rest of the day. Continue to water and fertilize.

November: Stop putting the plant in the dark the third week of November. Leave it in a sunny window. Flower buds should form.

December - Stop fertilizing mid-month. Keep watering and keep away from drafts.

No comments:

Post a Comment