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Ok--I got this pretty plant for the Holidays--now what do I do with it?

Poinsettias are one of the major symbols of the Holidays. Below you will find some information on the care and upkeep involved in keeping them looking nice through the holidays and beyond.

Poinsettias are a tropical plant

From the moment you purchase your poinsettia at a store, you must take special care in protecting it. They do not like cold weather, so make sure you take your plant directly home once you buy it. Do not leave it in your car all day. If you do, you will have a lovely green stemmed leafless plant---Oh- what a great conversation piece.

Put your plant in a nice warm sunny spot. They need at least 6 hours of light. Do not let the hot afternoon sun blast through the window onto your plant, your nice color will go bye-bye. Don't put it near a door or a drafty place. Again--Poinsettias do not like the cold. Through the holidays your plant should do just fine. Check to see if it needs water from time to time, but do not over water.

Keeping the Poinsettia for next year

When the color begins to fade from your plant, you can cut it back to about 6 to 8 inches from the soil line. Keep the plant in the same location--as before. continue to check to see if it needs water. The plant does not require a lot of water at this time. Just don't let it dry out. In no time at all, you should have new growth starting to pop from the stem. After it warms up outside, (late spring)you can set it outside. If your poinsettia is root bound, (More roots than soil)transplant it to a container one size larger.(Example-6 in up to a 8 in) Fertilize the plant through out the summer. A balanced fertilizer works well---about every 3 weeks. A liquid fertilizer also works good for most kinds of plants in containers.

Getting your poinsettia to Bloom again

Bring your Poinsettia indoors before the nights get cold in the fall. You need to bring your plant indoors at least by October, so it will be blooming by the holidays.Poinsettias need at least 14 straight hours of complete darkness in order for them to bloom. The darkness can not be interrupted at all or the plant will not bloom. A closet that you are not going to be using at night works well.It must be a warm place, above 60 degrees.So if you put your plant away for the night at 6 o'clock, you would bring it back out at 8 in the morning. During the day put the plant in the same kind of location as last year, They need at least 6 hours of day light.

Keep this up for about 8 weeks and you should have a colorful Poinsettia for the holidays. It's well worth the effort.

Questions--E-Mail me