Re-Blooming Poinsettias

It's not easy, but it is possible to get your poinsettias to "bloom" again next year. The poinsettia is a photoperiodic plant native to Central America. The plant sets new buds (and the bracts begin to color) when days get shorter in the autumn. To recreate this natural cycle in your home, you must follow a strict regimen and closely control both light and temperature. The Paul Ecke Ranch (one of the world's leading poinsettia growers for more than 75 years) recommends the following schedule:
  1. After the holiday blooming season, continue watering plants regularly and fertilizing with an all-purpose fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

  2. In late March or early April, cut plants back to about 8 inches in height.

  3. Once the danger of frost has passed, place plants outdoors in a warm, sunny location. They should get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.

  4. In late June or early July, transplant into a slightly larger container. Use a soil mix with plenty of organic matter.

  5. Throughout the summer, prune as needed to keep plants bushy and compact. Do not prune after September 1.

  6. Starting October 1, poinsettias must be kept in complete darkness for 14 consecutive hours each night. You can move them to a dark room or closet, or simply cover plants with a large cardboard box. Night temperatures should be between 60-70°F.

  7. From October through November, poinsettias require 6-8 hours of bright sunlight daily for bracts to fully color.

If you follow these steps carefully, you should have a colorful display just in time for the holidays!