what is the procedure for preparing my poinsettia to bloom for the next Christmas season?
Here are some care instructions on how to get your poinsettia plant to turn color and “bloom” again next year.
LATE WINTER/ EARLY SPRING
Poinsettias have long-lasting flowers so their bracts will remain showy for several months. During this time, side shoots develop below the bracts. To have a well-shaped plant the following year, cut a few inches off the ends of each of the old flowering stems. Be sure to leave three or four leaves on each of the old stems since new growth comes from buds located in the leaf axils along these stems. Cutting the poinsettia back in February or early March encourages the new leaves and insures a bushy full plant. Keep your Poinsettia in a sunny area where the temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees. Fertilize every 2 weeks with a balanced pant food at 1/2 he recommended strength.
LATE SPRING & SUMMER
Between July and August 1, prune several inches off the ends of all of the stems, old and new. Again, be sure to leave three or four leaves on each stem.
In order for the Poinsettia bracts to turn color, the plant must be kept in complete darkness for 12-15 hours a day from October 1st until color shows in the bracts in early to mid-December. The temperature should be between 60 and 70 degrees. Night temperatures above 70 to 75 degrees may delay or prevent the plant from turning red. Once the color appears, move your poinsettia back into the light. Hopefully you’ll have a beautiful plant for Christmas.