The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Poinsettas

Question: I've read your description for getting my poinsetta to rebloom next year. But what does "in May, cut back" mean? How far do I cut back? All the way to the soil line? Just the blooming leaves?

Answer: You have asked a very good question, because how much to cut is to some extent a matter of judgement. You will cut back stems, removing anywhere from a third of the plant to two thirds of it. It will look ugly until it begins to grow back and fill in again. Deciding how much to remove can depend on a number of factors: how "leggy" the plant looks after its winter indoors, how big and bushy you want it to be next fall, and how much space you have for the plant. (In its natural state this is a large shrub.) A conservative method would be to cut it back by about half and then see what happens under your particular growing conditions. The following year adjust accordingly. Enjoy your plant!

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