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How to keep your poinsettia for next year

Source: Emily Hansen, University of Minnesota Extension - Wright, McLeod and Meeker Counties, hans6005@umn.edu 612-394-6302

Did you receive a poinsettia over the holidays? Do you want your poinsettia to last for next year? Poinsettias are a common winter houseplant that line the shelves of stores and stand out during church services in December. They are popular due to their bright color and will last from Thanksgiving to Christmas and in some cases, Valentine’s Day. Instead of recycling your poinsettia you received over the holidays, keep it for next year. This article will detail the steps needed to take in order to save your poinsettia for next year.

Poinsettias are a plant native to Mexico. They are made up of bracts and cyathia. The bracts are the colorful leaves on the plant and cyathia are the small, yellow flowers in the center. The colorful bracts will attract insects to the cyathia to pollinate. Once pollination has occurred, the bracts will drop. 

Poinsettias are common winter plants because of their ability to change color due to the short winter days. Just like any plant, proper care is important for success. Keeping your poinsettia after the holidays and making it rebloom is a long process, but many gardeners are fulfilled when their holiday poinsettia from the year before reblooms again. 

The University of Minnesota Extension provides an in depth guide and timeline to reblooming your poinsettia for next year. Please refer to the guide below.

New Year’s Day:

  • Fertilize if you see new growth.

  • Continue to provide adequate light and water for prolonged bloom for several weeks.

Valentine’s Day:

  • Check your plant for signs of insects and manage them if you find them. Refer to Managing insects on indoor plants

  • Cut back the plant 5 inches if it has become too long. This will promote strict growth.

St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Prune off faded and dried parts of the plant.

  • Remove leaves from the soil surface, and add a little more potting soil if the roots are visible.

  • Continue keeping the plant in a bright, sunny window.

Memorial Day:

  • Trim off 2-3 inches of branches to promote side branching.

  • If you plan to continue growing your poinsettia as a potted plant, transplant it into a container.

Father’s Day:

  • Trim the plant again.

  • Move it into full sun.

  • Continue to water and fertilize but increase the amount to accelerate growth.

Labor Day:

  • Move indoors to a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct light daily, preferably more.

  • As new growth begins, reduce the fertilizer to one-quarter the recommended strength.

Fall equinox:

  • Starting on or near September 21, give the plant 16 hours of uninterrupted darkness (put it in a closet, basement, or under a box) and 8 hours of bright light every day. During the dark period, the plant cannot receive even the slightest bit of light at any time.

  • Maintain night temperatures in the low 60 degrees fahrenheit range.

  • Continue to water and fertilize at the reduced rate.

  • Rotate the plant daily to give all sides even light.

Thanksgiving:

  • Discontinue the short day/long night treatment.

  • Put the plant in a sunny area that gets at least six hours of direct light.

  • Reduce water and fertilizer.

Christmas:

  • Enjoy the poinsettia! Start the cycle over after the new year.

If you have any questions about growing poinsettias or any horticulture-related topic, please contact your local Extension Educator. Residents of Wright, McLeod, and Meeker counties can contact Emily Hansen at 612-394-6302 or email hans6005@umn.edu

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