Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Reflowering Poinsettias?

Posted by romeethredge on December 21, 2012

More than 70,000 poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are sold each year making this the most popular flowering plant in the United States.

The poinsettia is a native of Mexico.  It was named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who introduced it to the states in 1828.

With care, you can brighten your home with the colorful bracts (the true flowers are tiny and yellow) through the holiday season.

 Needs bright, indirect light. Cool conditions with medium to high humidity. Keep away from doors and drafts where they may get gusts of cold air. Keep away from windows that can cause temperature changes and chills. Keep away from heating vents and fireplaces. Check daily and water whenever the soil is dry. Do not let the plant wilt, but do not water if the soil is wet. Water with room-temperature water. Water thoroughly until the water drains out, and then empty the catch tray. Do not allow the pot to sit in standing water. For foil-wrapped pots, make a hole in the bottom of the foil to allow water to drain into a catch tray.

Reflowering for Next Year:

It is probably easier to discard your poinsettias when the bloom fades than to attempt to keep your plant for next year. However, many folks will want the challenge so here are some helpful hints.

 Follow the directions above until all danger of frost is past in late March.  Cut the stems to within 4 to 6 inches of the soil. Move the plant to a container that is 2 to 4 inches larger than the original pot. Move your plant outdoors to a bright, partially-shaded area or area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. The location should be protected from drying winds and high reflected light. Sink the pot to the rim. Water often but reasonably. Avoid extremes of wet or dry.  Fertilize with a complete houseplant fertilizer (20-20-20) according to directions. Shape as desired by pruning and/or pinching. Pinching encourages more blooms. Do not shape after Sept. 1. Turn the pot regularly to prevent rooting and ensure even growth. A quarter turn each week is desirable, but the plant will do fine with less.  When night temperatures begin to fall below 60 degrees, bring your plant inside. Continue to water and fertilize.

 Beginning October 1, give the poinsettia 14 hours of complete continuous darkness daily. This can be done by placing the plant in a closet or covering it with a cardboard box. Any light will delay or prevent flowering. Give your plant bright light for the remaining 10 hours. When your poinsettia is in full bloom, you can discontinue the forced darkness and proceed with the maintenance instructions above.

Here’s a beautiful “tree” made of poinsettias. My parents, Jerome and Joann Ethredge are in front of it at Callaway Gardens. When they lived in the tropics, in Togo, West Africa, they had large poinsettia plants growing outside that were very nice.




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