Follow these tips and enjoy your poinsettia next holiday season.
After the holidays: Place the poinsettia in a very sunny indoor spot and keep soil barely moist. Fertilize as package recommends.
March: Trim to 6 to 8 inches tall after its leaves fall. Continue to water and fertilize.
May: When poinsettia shows strong new growth, repot and bring outdoors. Give plant six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Protect from harsh afternoon sun. Fertilize weekly.
Mid-July: Trim one-fourth of growing tips to encourage branching. Leave at least 2 to 3 large leaves on each stem. Continue watering and fertilizing.
Early autumn: Bring indoors when nights fall below 60°F.
Oct. 1 to Dec. 15: Place your poinsettia in complete darkness from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. in temperatures around 65°F. Any light—even for a moment—will ruin your efforts. Place in a sunny location during the day.
Mid-December: After bracts start to color, a long night is not as necessary, but keep giving poinsettia six to eight hours of bright sunlight until completely colored. Then stop fertilizing and place the plant in its holiday location. Your poinsettia may not be quite as lush or bright as those in the nurseries, but it will still be beautiful.