Poinsettias are a popular gift plant for the Holidays. Find out how to grow yours throughout the year and have your own Christmas plants next year!
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Have you been given a Christmas Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) for the Holidays?
You can plant yours in the garden, enjoy a beautiful tropical plant during the growing season, and create your own beautiful Christmas containers to give away next holiday season!
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Enjoy the blooms while they last
Keep your poinsettia in a sunny window or brightly lit area and protect it from temperature fluctuations and spikes. Poinsettias in “bloom” need consistent moisture so keep the soil lightly moist, but not soggy.
Remember though that the red blooms on poinsettias are actually colorful bracts – the true poinsettia flowers are very plain.
Poinsettia dormant season
After the holidays you’ll notice the leaves beginning to drop and this is your cue to put the plant away for a dormant period.
Decrease the watering and when the leaves drop cut the stems back to about two or three growth buds or “eyes”. Store the poinsettia plant in a cool place but protect it from frost.
Replant in the Spring
In late spring when the danger of frost is over bring your poinsettia out of its dormancy by watering deeply and setting the plant in a bright, sunny place outdoors. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and enjoy full sun with plenty of water.
Your poinsettia will grow to about 10′ tall and while that original plant will be too big to bring indoors for Christmas decoration you can still create attractive holiday containers by starting new plants.
Make New Poinsettia Cuttings
Take mid-summer cuttings from your original poinsettia and be sure there are 4 or 5 growth buds on the cut stems. These new, smaller plants will have the attractive, compact growth that make Christmas Poinsettias so beautiful.
Force Christmas Blooms
To encourage your poinsettia plants to “bloom” you’ll need to carefully time the light cycle your poinsettia is exposed to.
It is a process called forcing and will take about 10 weeks to produce the bright red blooms we like to see around the Christmas holidays. If you begin timing your poinsettia light exposure in October you should have beautiful red Christmas flowers!
After the holiday season you can begin the process all over again by storing your poinsettia in a cool place for a dormant season before replanting the next spring.