The Q&A Archives: Poinsettias

Question: I live in Naples, FL and planted my poinsettia outside in the ground a couple of years ago. It is about three feet tall now, but looking very stragly. I really want to trim it, but is it too late? It is going to get down to the 50s this week with the highs around 77. Thank you for your help.

Answer: If you hope to get color this winter, it's too late to prune your poinsettia back now. Prune poinsettias back in late winter or early spring after blooming has finished. They should be cut back to within 12 to 18 inches of the ground. You can obtain a compact at flowering time, rather than one with a few long, unbranched canes, if the plants are pruned several times during the growing season. The new growth, after it is 12 inches long, should be cut back leaving four leaves on each shoot. This operation should be repeated every time the new growths develop until early September. Pruning too late will interfere with flowering.

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