How to Re-Bloom Your Poinsettia

Once Christmas is over comes the decision of what to do with your beautiful poinsettia? You may want to keep it as an attractive green foliage plant (after all, the poinsettia is included on the list of houseplants most helpful in removing pollutants from indoor air!) and try to get it to re-bloom next year. It’s not as difficult as you may think. But it does require vigilence.

Keep your poinsettia growing strong by placing it in a sunny location (indoors if you do not live in a tropical climate) for at least six hours a day. The daytime temperature should be around 70 F and the nighttime temp around 65 F. Temperatures below 50 F will cause chilling damage if you plan on leaving it in an enclosed outdoor porch. Avoid excessive drafts. Water it when the soil surface becomes dry to the touch and just enough until you see the water begin to come out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Discard any water that it could sit in as this will quickly cause root rot. Fertilize with a balanced, all-purpose houseplant fertilizer according to the label directions.

At the end of March cut back the stems of your poinsettia halfway to encourage new growth. By this time the bracts (the colorful part of the plant) have turned a muddy green. You may place your poinsettia outdoors during the spring and summer if the temperatures meet the above requirements and there is no danger of frost. Around June 1 it may be necessary to re-pot it into a bigger pot no more than 2-4” larger than the original. Use a fairly lightweight commercial potting mix and water-in thoroughly after transplanting. Keep up the fertilizer regime (probably once a week according to the manufacturer’s label directions) and avoid over-watering.

On July 4 cut back the stems again to 1/2 their original length. The plant will not look pretty, initially, but will soon have a lush canopy of new growth. Maintain the same light, temperature, watering and fertilizer requirements.

The poinsettia will begin to set flower buds as the winter nights grow shorter as it is a photoperiodic plant. It should come into full bloom (the blooms are actually the little yellow flowers in the middle of the colorful bracts) sometime in December. Starting October 1, your poinsettia must be kept in 14 hours of continuous, uninterrupted (not even a flashlight beam!) darkness for 14 hours a night, every night for 8-10 weeks. You can accomplish this by moving it into a dark closet or room or by placing a large box over it every evening and returning it to its sunny growing spot every morning 14 hours later. NO light should shine upon it during this critical dark night or the re-blooming process may be delayed or not occur at all. Make sure the night temperatures are between 60-70 F during this time also.

This final step is the part of the process that takes patience and diligence but the effort is well worth it when this time next year you are enjoying your beautiful blooming poinsettia. So start a heritage and keep it blooming!

Published by Debi

I live in Leesburg, Virginia where I teach high school students in the Agriculture Department. Additionaly, I am self-employed as a horticultural consultant and landscape designer. "Beefriend the Bees!" and "Neither Here Nor There" are children's books I wrote and illustrated available from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=Deborah Chaves&x=12&y=25. Other interests include singing and playing my guitar (also have a CD for sale on Amazon called "Gardening Therapy"); walking my American Bulldog, Cloud and Olde English Bulldogge, Sky; staying active in my local church, and blogging on the www.thedailylily.com.

6 thoughts on “How to Re-Bloom Your Poinsettia

  1. Thank you for your informative article on the care of the poinsetta after the holidays. I have three of which one is a lovely blue. Do I treat the blue just like the other poinsettas? I live in Louisiana. Should I plant these in the shade as it gets to be quite hot down here? Thanks.

    1. Treat the blue one just like the others. The only difference is that the blue one will not bloom as blue next year but as a white as they used a floral dye (to get the blue color) on a white poinsettia. You may want to plant it in a place where it gets afternoon shade so as not to scorch the leaves. Thanks for the question and happy blooming!

      1. I am singing the blues since I found out that my blues will be whites next year. HOWEVER, I like WHITE Christmases as long as I am NOT driving in it…so I will look forward to seeing if my Beautiful Blue will be White next year.
        Thanks, Debi

  2. What great info on keeping my beautiful BLUE poinsettia regenerating from year to year. Hope I can follow your instructions and have a blue, blue poinsettia for Christmas (next year).

  3. some of my leaves have fallen off and I have more stem than bloom, is it too late to save it? have I over watered or under watered it?…Usually I do pretty good with taking care of my plant..how can I save it?

    1. It’s hard to tell without looking at the root system what the cause is but don’t panic yet! You can turn the plant upside down over a sink or surface that is cleanable and gently knock the root ball out of the pot. Roots usually tell the whole story. If they are brown and mushy to the touch the plant has been overwatered and has root rot (but if the plant is not wilted it should recover). If the roots are white the plant is healthy. If they are dry and brittle the plant has been underwatered.
      Try these steps to aid in its recovery: only water when the soil surface is dry and make sure the water can drain out of the bottom and does not sit in the bottom of foil cover or saucer. Make sure the plant gets 6 hours of sunlight each day by placing near a bright window. Fertilize every couple of weeks with a general houseplant food. Room temperature should ideally be between 65-72 F.
      Hope this solves your problem.

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