The Q&A Archives: Poinsettia

Question: My poinsettia continues to put out red leaves [flowers]
but has few green ones. The stalks have grown leggy and
woody. What can I do to bush the plant up again?

Answer: To keep Poinsettias from one year to the next is a bit of a challenge. But it CAN be done. Are you ready for that challenge? Take the poinsettia and prune the stems back to stubs about 4 inches high. Put the pot in a cool,
shady area of the house and keep the soil ALMOST dry.

When spring arrives and it's warm enough to put your houseplants outside repot your poinsettia into a pot slightly larger than the one in which it had been planted. Put it into the garden in a slightly shaded area, sinking the pot into the soil to help keep it from drying
out. As soon as the temperatures begin to cool down in the very early fall bring it back indoors.

Now, life gets a bit complicated. Put it into a very sunny location until sometime in September or early October when you will place it in TOTAL darkness for 13-14 hours every night. This is REALLY important. If you have a room that is not lived in at all, it can stay there. But if you put
lights on at any time in that won't work! If that's the case, it must be moved from darkness into light every day...faithfully. When the bracts have colored again...bring them out and start bragging!

By the way, Poinsettias do have flowers, but they are those tiny, little yellow things in the
middle of the colored bracts. When you buy poinsettias always look for ones that have those little
flowers as tightly closed as possible. That's one way to keep them looking beautiful longer.

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