PRESERVING YOUR POINSETTIA
Happy Holidays from Rob the Plant Guy and crew here at Mellano & Company Las Vegas! As promised, here are the steps for caring for your Poinsettia plant so that it will bloom again next year. There are some very specific things you need to do throughout the coming months, but it can be a fun challenge to preserve a plant year to year rather than tossing it out after the holidays!
First, read my last post on Poinsettia care to be sure you are watering correctly and keeping your plant at the right temperature. Then:
- Keep watering your plant through January, February and March whenever the surface of the soil is dry. Starting in April gradually decrease water allowing the plant to dry out between waterings. A shriveled stem is a sign you’ve cut back too quickly.
- In a week or 2 when your Poinsettia has acclimated to the decreased water, move it to a cool spot like the basement or garage. Keep it at about 60°F.
- In May cut the stems back to 4 inches and repot in a slightly larger container with new potting soil. Water it well. Place the newly potted plant in a the brightest window you have and keep it around 65-75°F.
- Continue to water when the surface of the soil is dry. Once you see new growth, add a complete fertilizer every 2 weeks.
- In June move your Poinsettia outside in a partially shaded location and maintain your watering and fertilizer schedule.
- In early July pinch back each stem by about 1 inch. This will encourage a stout, well-branched plant rather than a tall spindly one.
- By mid-August the stems should have branched and leafed out. Again, pinch back new stems leaving 3-4 leaves on each shoot.
- During September, bring the plant back indoors to your brightest window. Continue watering and fertilizing, and make sure the temperature stays above 65°F.
- Poinsettias are short-day plants, meaning their bud set is affected by the length of daylight. To re-bloom, they need 10 weeks with 12 hours of light per day. To artificially create this, it is crucial that you are diligent. Beginning October 1st, keep your plant in complete darkness from 5 pm to 8 am. Any exposure to light will delay blooming. Use an opaque box or material to block out light. Some people place their plants in a closet- but if light gets in through the cracks or you use the closet, it will affect the bud set.
- Move the plant back to a sunny window during the day and continue to water and fertilize. Around the last week of November you can stop the darkness treatment and allow the plant to remain in the window. You should see flower buds at this point. Stop fertilizing around the middle of December. Keep watering and treat your plant the way you did when you first brought it home a year ago! If all has gone well, it should be back in bloom and ready to begin the process all over again for you to enjoy or give as a gift!
Stay tuned to this blog in 2013 for creative ideas, fascinating history and updates on quality Mellano and Company products. We are looking forward to sharing our love for the cut-flower and potted-plant industry with all of you in the new year!