The Q&A Archives: Point Setters

Question: I want to learn how to grow my own point setters red and white, can you instruct me on how.

Answer: Poinsettias are usually grown from cuttings in a greenhouse environment, then taken home to be enjoyed by consumers as houseplants. If you want to do it commercially, your local County Extension (349-1247) should be able to help you get started. If you want to grow them at home, here are the basic care instructions:

Possibly the most traditional of holiday plants.
poinsettias require special handling to make them bloom
year after year. While blooming, keep well watered and in
bright light with temperatures between 65-75 degrees. In
the spring put the plant outdoors in an area that receives
morning sun. Prune back the branches to about 6 inches and
continue to pinch during the growing season to keep the
plant bushy. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a dilute
houseplant fertilizer.

About mid-September bring the poinsettia indoors and
condition it to bloom by providing total darkness for 16
hours each day so the plant can set color in the flower
bracts. The easiest way to accomplish this is to set the plant
in a bright room for 8 hours and then either put a box over it
or put it in a closet for 16 hours. In early December, stop
the conditioning process and leave the plant in a bright

Poinsettia is usually propagated by cuttings taken in mid
spring when the plants are normally trimmed back for
repotting, but you could try with a cutting taken any time.
Use four to six inch tip cuttings and set them into barely
moist/damp sand. Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to
maintain humidity and set it in a very bright location out of
direct light. Move to individual pots when rooted; allow to
acclimate to being in the pot and then move to bright direct
sun; keep them evenly moist but not soggy. Good luck with
your poinsettias!

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