The Q&A Archives: Pointsettia Care

Question: We have tried keeping poinsetta plants year to year and have lost them. What are the proper light levels, watering and feeding for fall and winter?

Answer: It takes some effort to get pointettias to re-bloom. Here's the way to proceed: <br><br>After the holidays, to prolong the bloom, keep the plant at a constant temperature (on the cool side) with plenty of light--a bright window is good, but beware ofoverheating in full sun. Sudden temperature changes and drafts will cause leaf drop. After flowering, stop fertilizing and move to a cool spot with lower levels of light. In May, cut the plant back. <br><br>In early October, resume fertilizing and limit light to 10 hours a day to initiate flowering. A good place is a dark closet, as long as it won't be opened to allow any light in--it is critical that the dark period is uninterrupted. Just remember to bring the plant out into the light during it's 10-hour "day", and give it complete darkness the other 14 hours. The bracts should color up again in time for the holidays. <br><br>Also the soil should be free draining. If not, repot using 1 part vermiculite, 1 part sphagnum moss and 1 part standard potting mix.

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