How do I care for a poinsettia?
Posted by Suttons Staff on 24 June 2013 11:19 am
The poinsettia requires a minimum temperature of 13-15°C (55-60°F). Choose a brightly lit position away from draughts and direct sun. During the flowering period misting the leaves regularly with tepid water will extend the flowering period. Poinsettias dislike an over wet compost and they should only be watered when the surface has begun to dry out. Feed the plant with a liquid flowering house plant fertilizer at monthly intervals.

Although the plant will be taller it can brought into flower again in subsequent years. In March gradually reduce watering. Once the plant has dropped its leaves prune back the shoots to about 10cm (4″) in length and keep it fairly dry. In early May start to increase watering and re-pot when the new shoots appear using a mixture of three parts John Innes number 3 potting compost to one part grit. Once established in the new pot feed the plant every week with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

The poinsettia naturally produces the colourful bracts in short days. To have the plant in flower for Christmas, cover it with a black plastic bag to exclude all light from September. The cover should be in place from late afternoon to early morning to give a 12 hour period of darkness. At this time a constant temperature of 18°C (65°F) is important. Once the bracts have fully developed to their maximum size and colour the plant does not need to be covered.
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