Instead of discarding your poinsettia after the Holiday season, take on the challenge of re-blooming it for the next year.
Here’s what you need to do.
Maintain and water the plant indoors from March to May. Once the blooms fade and the plant becomes leggy, cut it back to 4-6 inch stems. Reduce watering, (keeping it on the dry side during this dormant period) and place the plant in a sunny spot with temperatures of 60-70F until you see new growth.
In spring, repot the plant in fresh soil and a larger pot if needed. When new growth starts to show, begin feeding your poinsettia with a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer every 2-3 weeks and continue throughout the growing season.
In mid-May/June, move your poinsettia outside (when night temps are above 50F) to partial shade, protected from the afternoon sun. You can sink the pot into your flower bed. Be sure to rotate the pot periodically so the roots don’t grow into the soil.
If the plant gets too tall and misshapen pinch back the lateral shoots between July-August to produce a bushier plant. Use the cuttings can also be rooted as new plants.
In the fall, when temperatures get below 45ºF for an extended period bring your poinsettia indoors. Poinsettias need short days and long nights to bloom. To initiate blooming you must expose the plant to 14 hrs of uninterrupted darkness (no cheating, even a small amount of light will break the cycle) followed by 10 hrs of bright light for a period of 8-10 weeks starting late September. Keep it in a room that you don’t use in the evening or place it in a black plastic bag or a box. (Don’t forget to take it out during the day.)
Poinsettia needs a cool, bright location during the day with temperatures ranging from 60 to 70F. Water when the soil surface is dry and drain any excess water. Don’t let your plant sit in water as that can cause the roots to rot.
Continue to fertilize lightly every 4 wks with 15-16-17, or 20-10-20 until flowering begins (mid-December). Once the plant is in bloom stop fertilizing and resume again in March.
It takes 60-85 days depending on variety, temperature and light intensity for the bracts to show color.
Reblooming poinsettia requires persistent attention but can be a rewarding challenge!
more info Poinsettia care