poinsettia every 2 to 3 weeks with a complete water-soluble
fertilizer at half-strength while bracts are showing color.
Something with a fertilizer analysis such as 20-20-20 will work well.
bracts generally fade in late March or April. Continue to care for
it as you would any other houseplant. Keep it in a sunny location,
and water as needed to keep the soil from drying out. Quit
fertilizing once the bracts fade. Cut the stems back to six to
eight inches. This keeps your poinsettia from getting too tall and
leggy. Itís a good idea to wear rubber gloves and long sleeves when
cutting back a poinsettia because the milky sap can irritate your
skin if you are sensitive to it. Reduce watering so that the top
inch or two of soil dries between waterings, but never allow the
plant to wilt completely. This gives your poinsettia a slight rest
period before it begins active growth again.
June, when your poinsettia is putting on strong new growth,
repot it into a pot that is one size larger than its current
container. If a
plant is repotted into too large a pot, the root system is
surrounded by a large volume of soil that stays wet too long after a
good soaking, which can cause root rot. Once it is transplanted,
place it back in a sunny window. Your poinsettia can also spend
the summer outside in a sunny location protected from the
hottest afternoon sun and drying winds.
every other week with a 'complete' fertilizer (i.e. 20-20-20 which
is one with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). To encourage bushy
poinsettia plants, pinch the new growth back by an inch or
two in July. You can repeat the pinching again in late August if
your poinsettia is growing very vigorously. If you choose to summer
your poinsettia outside, be sure to move it back indoors before
night temperatures fall below 60 degrees.
Whitefly Insect Problems
plant regularly for signs of insect problems.
the most common pest of poinsettias. If a cloud of white insects
hovers around the plant when the foliage is disturbed, they are
likely whiteflies. Repeated applications of insecticidal soap should
take of the problem. Insects should be less of a problem on indoor
Getting your poinsettia to bloom again
poinsettia to bloom for next Christmas requires a little planning on
your part. Poinsettias bloom in response to long nights. You
should start the last week of September or the first week of October
to have poinsettias in bloom for Christmas. Move your poinsettia
to a closet, unused room, or cover with box or basket. It
requires 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness every night for
eight to ten weeks. Turning on a light, even briefly, will delay
flowering. Move your poinsettia back to a sunny location during the
day. Once the colorful bracts begin to appear, you can leave it in
its normal place again.