concerning poinsettia - Knowledgebase Question

pittsburgh, pa
Question by lmccaul4
October 13, 2009
It is October 12, 2009 and I have taken my poinsettia in for the winter and hope to have it bloom again at Christmas time. Any information You can share to help this happen would as always be greatly appreciated. I have been given advice for complete darkness for 6 weeks. Not sure to water during this time or if this is even correct information. In bringing the plant in for the winter one of the bracks or branches broke off would I be able to root in water? I had this poinsettia sitting on my front porch all summer and left the red bracks in tack as they looked pretty vibrant most of the summer so I didn't have the heart to take them off. They are still on their but faded. My question is if this might be draining from the plant? I also never cut the plant back because of the bracks and it is a little sparse looking at the bottom of plant. Thanks again for any and all help you can give.

Answer from NGA
October 13, 2009


The standard conditioning treatment is to place your poinsettia in complete darkness for 12-14 hours each night, then bring it back into the light during the day. You'll water your plant as usual. The only difference is that you will put it in a closet or other place where it will experience total darkness all night long. Start in September and the plant will develop the color your expect during the holidays. Your poinsettia should have been cut back last spring and pinched back all summer long to encourage a full and bushy look. It is too late in the season to cut your poinsettia back and still hope to have color in December, so you may simply want to enjoy your leggy plant this season and cut it back after it has finished flowering. If you pinch out the growing tips in the spring and early summer, your plant will be full and bushy instead of tall and leggy. If flowering doesn't matter to you this year, prune the entire plant down to 6-8 inches. You'll get new growth from below the cuts but there's probably not enough time for the new stems and foliage to bring you that lovely red color this winter. Best wishes with your poinsettia.

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