Poinsettias don't have to die after the holidays. There's a way to bring them back in time for next fall. (Adapted from the Inside the Design Shop blog at Robertson's Flowers)
This is adapted from the Inside the Design Shop blog at Robertson's Flowers
First, since this is a tropical plant that hails from Central America, it’s important to keep its environment sunny and between 65 and 75 degrees F. If the temp drops lower than 65, then leaf drop may occur.
Poinsettias prefer a lot of light, like a sunny window. Indirect, bright light is best and keep the plant in a place with no cold drafts. Southern, eastern, and western-facing windows are the best. When watering, keep the soil moist but not soggy and make sure the roots are not sitting in water as root rot may develop. When the soil is dry to the touch, then it’s time to re-water.
After the holidays, the poinsettia’s leaves will eventually drop off, and in spring the stems will be bare but still growing. This is the time to reduce watering and allow the plant to get a little bit drier between waterings. In May, it’s time to do a little pruning by cutting the stems down to about 6 inches to ensure a lush, full plant in winter. Spring is also a good time to start fertilizing.
When the temperature starts getting warmer, around June, move your poinsettia outside to an area that is partially shady. Morning light is best Hot afternoon sunlight shining directly on the plant should be avoided. Placing it under a tree or on the patio are good options. Summer is also the time to start fertilizing using it at half strength. After more branches have grown, pinch about an inch off of each stem. Continue fertilizing at half-strength weekly and only when the soil is moist.
Keep an eye out for pesky pests that tend to hide on the underside of the leaves. A simple and safe homemade insecticide solution of 1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap to 1 gallon of water can be sprayed on the plant as needed.
As summer begins to come to an end and the temperatures drop to below 65 degrees F, then it’s time to bring the poinsettia back inside. This is also the time to cultivate the deep red bloom poinsettias are famous for. In order to do this, you need to make sure your plant gets a minimum of 12 hours of complete uninterrupted darkness. A good tip is to place a cardboard box over the poinsettia at 5:00 p.m. and take it off at 8:00 a.m. During the day, they still need to be in a sunny spot. Starting around October 1st, continue this routine for about 8 weeks to encourage the plant to bloom in time for the holiday season.
Once your poinsettia has rebloomed, you no longer need to add fertilizer, just water as you did last Christmas. Then, after the holidays, you can start it all over again. If reblooming a poinsettia seems too daunting, then support your local Philadelphia florist by purchasing a new one, or two, this year.
Find more ideas at Robertson's Flowers, robertsonsflowers.com
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