The Q&A Archives: Flowering A Poinsetta

Question: I have a poinsetta plant from last Christmas that we have managed to keep in good shape throughout the year. When or how can we get it to flower for the Holidays or have we missed the "dark closet" date already? Also, what care must be provided for the plant prior to the closet and during?

Answer: Unfortunately it's probably too late for your plants to turn full color for this holiday season. The plants
need to be kept in total
darkness for 12-14 hours every night beginning in September to promote coloring of the
bracts (the petal-like leaves) by Christmas. The best way to provide the necessary darkness
is to place your plant in a closet or cover it with a bucket or carton to block out all light,
even from a streetlight or lamp. It sounds finicky, which is why many people purchase new
plants every year. But it can be fun to see your old plant friend change color as the holidays
approach. If you have enough plants, you can rotate them through this process so at least
one will be "in bloom" at all times! For general care instructions, there are many poinsettia pointers in the Q&A.

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