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After holiday pointsettia care

By Monica Ortner

Fri, Jan 4th, 2013
Posted in All Arts & Culture

Monica Ortner

Fillmore County Master Gardener Intern

The holidays are now over and the new year has begun. What to do with the pretty poinsettias you received for the holidays? I like to keep them as long as I can. They look so pretty in this winter white time of year. The bright red bracts and green foliage can last well into the new year, and with a little time and lots of patience maybe you can get them through to next winter.

The poinsettias like temperatures between 65-70 degrees with natural bright daylight. No excessive air drafts, cold or hot, and frost or freezing temps will kill them. Keep them moist but not sitting in water. They are susceptible to root-rot damage. They do benefit from a balanced all-purpose fertilizer at half strength at 6-8 weeks. This promotes new green growth. Repeat again in another 6-8 weeks. It will be a pretty green foliage plant.

In April or early May you need to cut back the plant to about eight inches. The stubby stems should have new green growth coming again by the end of May. Keep it in a sunny spot to encourage green growth. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with half strength balanced fertilizer.

In mid June, repot your poinsettia using an organic rich soil mix. Water thoroughly.

By the first of October, the plants will need to be kept in complete darkness 14 hours each night and 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight with temps between 60-70 degrees. Continue this for 8 to 10 weeks. Any stray light from a street light will affect the budding and flower formation of your poinsettia.

At this point, if everything has gone well, you should have a budding, flowering poinsettia to again grace your holiday celebrations.

Poinsettias are beautiful houseplants. They are not poisonous, but they are not intended for eating either.

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