Caring for A Poinsettia Plant After the Holidays, Keep it Healthy Longer.

Beautiful Red and White Poinsettia

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Caring for your Poinsettiea

How the poinsettia traditon began. Poinsetta's have been around since 1827. It is native to Central America near South Mexico . Joel Roberts Poinsett was the fire US ambassador to Mexico . He had a strong interest in botony and when he saw the plant he loved it so much he had some shipped to his home in South Carolina where he becane cutivating the plant.

For the very first time I have a poinsettia that is big beartiful and green. I kept it healthy all winter by putting in a moderaltely sunny window. I watered it minimally but it remanined very healty. Some leaves fell but all in all it stayed very healthy. When Sping and Summer came I put it on the North side of my home. It grew healthier and healthier.

What makes a poinsettia turn red . It is a process called photoperiodism. It happens when the lack of light causes the leave to change color. These special leaves are call bracs and the yellow and white flowers are found in the center. Starting October decrease water and fertilizer and keep in a totallly dark room for 12 hours. During the day the plant needs bright sunlight to produce it's bright red color. Once the color has changed you can resume normal light and watering.

To make your poinsettia grow all summer after Christmas begin limiting water so it will enter dormancy. In the Spring around March/April cut it back to about 6 inches and resume water and fertilizer. In the summer you might want to repot and take it outside. Keep it in a protected part of your garden where it is not exposed to too much sunlight. Pinch back the tips to encourage branching. Then around late September and /or early October begin the process of reducing light.


Taking your Poinsettia outside for the Summer

This year I have been able to save two of my poinsettia. One I placed in the ground in a shade garden beside my porch and behind my hydrangea. It is doing wonderful and getting bigger. I am not sure what I will do in late October. I live in the Southeast US so it does not get as cold and dark in late September as it may need to to force the leaves to change. I will probably dig it up in September, shake off excess dirt, repot and allow it to adjust to it's new home as it goes through its phases with less light.

Another poinsettia is smaller and in it's original pot from the holidays. It is on my back porch in semi-shade. I water it at least 4 times a week as we are experiencing a very hot and dry summer.It is also doing very well. The shade with moderate light seems to work the best. Poinsettia I have planted or left outside in full sun have never made it into the summer.

caring for a Poinsettia after Christmas

Forcing my Poinsettia to change Color

This year I hope to put my poinsettia in my garage in early September to give them plenty of time to change color. I will need to bring them indoors during the day and place in my sunny dining room windows. I will post how these do. Thank you for your interest and good luck with your plants.

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