You can now move your poinsettia outside for a summer blast of sunshine and temperatures. Keep it in a partially shaded location and never in direct sunlight. Water regularly and give a little extra fertilizer once near the end of this month.
Right after July 4, take a moment and cut back each stem the length of your thumb tip. It's tempting to leave the growth, but if left uncut now, the poinsettia will grow rather leggy and lanky. Not their best look.
August through September
By mid-August, each branch will have new growth. Once again, pinch or cut them back to a small handful of leaves on each shoot. Now's the time to bring the plant back inside (so the temperature remains regular) and place in your sunny window. Water regularly, and add the fertilizer mix once per month.
To get poinsettias to re-bloom, at this point they must be limited to 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. This might sound tricky, but all you have to remember is that starting October 1 until almost the end of November, keep your plant in complete darkness from 5 pm to 8 am. (Like a toddler with a very early bedtime!) No exposure to light as this will delay blooming. Even quick exposure to light will affect the blooming, so the easiest thing to do is to put it in a closet you know you won't be using until the next morning. During the day, place the plant back in its sunny window and continue to water and fertilize.
The last week in November you can keep the poinsettia in the window full time. Your reward for this early bedtime schedule? You will have several fabulous flower buds now.
No more fertilizing after mid-month. Continue to water it the way you did when it was new — and enjoy as it continues to bloom throughout the season!
You can be proud that you gave your poinsettia an encore performance — and believe me when I tell you that you will enjoy your holiday plants even more knowing that you gave them such care. So, do a little dance, but remember, you're a pro now, so it's up to you to share the knowledge. Knowledge is power, so share the power — and even share this article.
Perhaps you've read this far and are thinking "um, not so sure" — perhaps these steps are not conducive to your lifestyle, home or family. So, consider making this a project for a grandparent, a child's school project or donate the plant and a copy of the steps to a nursing home. Many adult care centers thrive on giving their residents responsibilities. (Of course, always check first before you donate an unwanted poinsettia.) My grandmother thrived on nursing plants back to health and somehow always had a green magic thumb. I'm sure there are other wonderful people that would also love the responsibility.
And should you still decide you will resort to discarding them, more good news: note that there is no actual evidence that poinsettias are toxic or unsafe to have in the house, so consider putting them in a compost pile and letting them break down gracefully and usefully — with dignity. It may not be a waltz, but it's a fanfare of a sort. And there you have it.
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