Re-blooming any plant that has been forced for mass production is not easy. Re-blooming a poinsettia plant is no exception. It can be done, but it requires greenhouse-like conditions with hands-on care. Plus it is a tedious process and one slip – leaving the lights on just once – will blow months of work.
Month – by – Month Poinsettia Re-bloom Guide
January – March: Water your poinsettia whenever you find that the surface of the soil is dry to the touch.
April: Begin gradually decreasing the amount of water that you give your poinsettia. You should allow the soil to get dry between waterings. However, you want to avoid allowing the stem to shrivel up as this is a sign that it is dying. After a week or two has passed, move your poinsettia to a cool area with no sunlight for about 12-15 hours every night. Cool is critical – keep the plant at 60 – 65 degrees F.
May: In mid-May, re-pot your plant with new soil – a cactus mix is best. Now cut the back each main branch to only four inches long. Then, place your plant in a brightly lit room and water it well. Your plant should be kept at a temperature of 65 to 75F and should be fertilized with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two weeks.
June: Continue the same watering and fertilizing process as before, but temperatures up to 80F are okay.
July: Begin pinching back each stem about one inch. This is done with your hands and forces the plant to grow new stems and prevents it from growing too tall and lanky.
August: Continue pinching new stems and leaving three to four leaves on each branch. Continue the same watering and fertilizing routine.
September: Make sure your plant’s temperature stays above 65 degrees Fahrenheit and continue watering and fertilizing your plant regularly.
Now the Hard Part
October: Now comes the really hard part. Starting October 1st, keep your plant in total darkness from 5 p.m. to 8a.m. A closet might work. Any sort of exposure to light can delay the blooming process. During the day, place your poinsettia back into the brightly lit room and continue the regular watering and fertilizing process.
November: Continue the October process until the last week of November. Once you reach the last week, you should begin to see flower buds. During this time, you can stop putting your plant in complete darkness and just keep it in the well-lit area.
December: About mid-December, you can stop fertilizing your plant. If everything went as planned, your poinsettia should be back in bloom and you can begin caring for it like you did when you first got it. (post -here)
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More about growing colorful flowers (outdoors) every month of the year in this book: Month by Month Gardening for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies – at no extra cost to you.
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