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How to Care for your Christmas Poinsettia

Posted by admin | Added on : January 07, 2013 3:25pm | Last edited: January 07, 2013 5:07pm | Viewed 2416 times | 0 Comments


Aside from the Christmas tree, perhaps the plant that most exudes the spirit of Christmas is the poinsettia. While some discard their poinsettia after the holiday season, there are some who care for them all year round.  
If you wish to be one of the latter, but don't know how to start, then consider this as your first lesson on how to care for a poinsettia.  

When choosing your pointsettia, make sure to get one with small, tightly grouped yellow buds in the center, and be on the look out for brightly colored, undamaged bracts (or leaves). On your way home, be sure to protect the plant from the elements. Wrap it in newspaper or a paper bag.  

Once home, place the pointsettia in an area with plenty of bright, natural light; Do not set it where there are drafts, and keep it away from appliances and refrigerators. Placing it on top of a TV set is out of the question. Unlike other plants, you only water the poinsettia when it is dry. Be sure to discard the excess water that goes through the drainage holes of the pot, and that the pot itself doesn't sit in water.

A week after Christmas, fertilize your pointsettia with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer and continue giving it the proper sunlight and water to prolong its bloom for several weeks. And after a couple of months, check your plant for signs of insects. By this time, if your plant becomes long, cut it back down to about five inches in height.  

Every month, be sure to take care of faded and dried parts. You can add more soil if you want, but always remember to keep the <b>poinsettia</b> in a well lit interior location. If the plant has grown, you can repot it to a larger container. Make sure to trim off at least 2 to 3 inches of branches to promote side branching.   

During the summer, you can move your pointsettia outside and place it in indirect light. By July, you should trim your plant and move it under full sun. Continue with adequate water and fertilizer to accelerate its growth.   

Once Labor Day comes, you should move the plant indoors again to a spot where it can get at least six hours of direct sunlight everyday. Once you notice new growth, reduce the amount of fertilizer.  

By September 21, you should start giving your plant 13 hours of darkness, followed by 11 hours of light everyday. You can do this by moving the plant inside a closet, or in a box, then moving it outdoors under natural light. Night temperatures should be in the low 60 degree F range, and be sure to give the plant even light all around.  Rotate it every few hours to make sure each side is getting enough sunlight.  
By Thanksgiving, you can stop the short day/long night exposure, and place the pointsettia in an area where it can get at least six hours of direct light. Reduce the amount of water and fertilizer by this time.   

If you make sure to follow the above steps on how to care for a poinsettia, then come Christmas time, your plant should bloom in all its glory! Repeat the cycle and enjoy your pointsettia all year round!



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