Poinsettia - Knowledgebase Question

Holbrook, Ne
Question by pjrusso
February 28, 2010
I have a Poinsettis and it is 5 1/2 years old. Leaves are very tiny, some are red and very woody, it still makes leaves at the end of the branches. Have never done anything special, never put in dark closet. Never been pruned. What do you recommend. Is it at the end of its life. Thank You

Answer from NGA
February 28, 2010


Poinsettias are perennial plants in places like Mexico, the southwest desert and in some parts of southern California. In their natural settings, Poinsettias are woody shrubs rather than the tender plants we see at Christmas time. Sounds as though yours needs a little rejuvenation. Yours has developed woody stalks over time and you'll want to prune it back to encourage healthy new growth. Otherwise all you will have will be leaves at the very tips of the branches. The leaves on your plant are small because there are only a few and they are trying to manufacture energy for the entire plant. By pruning your poinsettia back you'll encourage healthy new growth which will develop large, healthy leaves. This spring you can prune the branches back by one third. If they are not too woody they will develop new stems. If they are too woody, the roots should send up new shoots at soil level. You might want to prune gently, and only one part of the plant at a time so at least some leaves are left on the plant. If you prune them all off at once, the plant might go into shock. So start with a third of the plant and prune it back by a third. Wait to see how it reacts. When new growth begins, prune another third of the plant. When that part recovers, prune back the third part of the plant. I hope your plant responds favorably!

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