And to keep the bracts in tip-top shape all throughout the full holiday season, there are 3 simple keys to success. Usually, within 2 to 3 weeks, you will begin to see new growth beginning to emerge. They are often disposed of once they start to fade, but with a little care, you can keep them all year and the bracts will colour up again the following year. Luckily, succeeding in growing poinsettia does not need to be a hard task, even if you are a novice gardener. A symbol of resurrection Everyone loves colorful poinsettias during the holiday season, but once the holidays have passed, even if you have kept your plant alive, it won’t bloom again the following December. Question: When should you start poinsettia seeds to have a plant for Christmas? Purchase a poinsetta plant in December this year and then follow my instructions to make it bloom again next year. He became fascinated with poinsettias and began selling them at a street stand in Los Angeles. They are native to Mexican forests. Too little water will cause the leaves to drop. Count back ten weeks from the date that you want your poinsettia to begin blooming, usually the end of September or beginning of October for an early to mid-December blooming. She has been associated with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade. They are native to Mexico. This can be done once a month until the middle of August. Your poinsettia will only display colored bracts if it experiences complete darkness for at least 12 hours per night for 10 weeks. Once you have arrived home with your wrapped plants home, unwrap them immediately. It might surprise you to learn that the red blooms are not the flowers; they are bracts or modified leaves! There is little doubt the poinsettias are the official flower of the Christmas holiday season. As fall arrives, it is time to start preparing your poinsettia for holiday blooming! GROW POINSETTIAS. If your poinsettia is going to be a permanent resident in your garden, and you want it change colors in time for Christmas, plant it in a spot that stays completely dark for about 12-14 hours every night starting in early October. The large red bracts of poinsettias are often mistaken for flowers but they are actually leaves. You can try growing Christmas Cactus outdoors in warmer climates, but this plant is from the coastal mountains of … With the arrival of September, poinsettias are best returned to the house to ensure a minimum night-time temperature of about 16°C. Poinsettia. Start your seeds in the spring, but don't expect any flowers until the second Christmas after you plant them. To promote the plants, he sent them to TV studios across the U.S. and the rest is history. But with that said, be sure to not allow the soil to stay too dry for too long. Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. Do watch for shriveled brown stems, which are an indication that your lovely Christmas flower may be dying a slow death. To get plants to bloom around the holiday season, they need to go through a 6 to 8 week period of darkness to force the blooms. Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 08, 2017: We used to have poinsettias in our house each Christmas, that is, until a kitty adopted us. Poinsettia usually flowers in winter. Flowering actually begins after about two months of this short-day treatment, about a month before Christmas. And that all begins with knowing a little about the plant, and it’s blooming cycle. When fall arrives, follow the same procedure as with poinsettias, keeping them in a room with no artificial light or placing a box over them at night. Although they look like a flowering blooms, bracts are instead a set of colorful leaves that form on top of the regular green foliage of the poinsettia. Bring the plant out into indirect light for only about 8 hours each day, and then return to darkness. This tropical plant loves heat and humidity – but not too much! Poinsettias care isn't very difficult, but there are few things to know about these Christmas favourites to help them last longer. The legend tells of a young girl named Pepita or Maria who was so poor that she couldn’t afford to buy a gift to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. The association with Christmas began as a legend in 16th century Mexico. More than 2 million of them will be sold this year, making it the largest potted flower crop grown in the US. October: Poinsettias are short-day plants, meaning their bud set is affected by the length of daylight. Carrying them unwrapped from the store to your car and home will result in the loss of leaves. We have to delve into the sordid history of the poinsettia plant to find the answer. An amateur botanist, Poinsett sent samples back home to the United States of a plant he discovered that had red blooms. Overly warm rooms will shorten the bloom time of poinsettia plants, as will sitting them too close to a heat source such as a heat duct, fireplace or heater. In the spring, once nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50⁰F, you can bring your plant outdoors. You'll need to provide 13 to 16 hours of complete and uninterrupted darkness daily. He even appeared on popular shows such as The Tonight Show and Bob Hope’s Christmas specials to promote the plants. So, where did the Christmas poinsettia come from? But not to worry, we have you covered with today’s article! He gnaws on anything that even remotely resembles a plant. In addition to the traditional red, bracts can be pink, white, orange, and even purple. Continue to water as needed through the process. Keep it out of drafts. The showy portions of the poinsettia, which most people think of as the flower, are actually colorful leaves called bracts. Poinsettias are a shrub that grows from 2 to 13 feet in height. In the U.S., they are hardy only in zones 9 through 11, so they must be brought indoors during the colder months of the year. No plants are safe from my cats. This article may contain affiliate links. The instructions post March are not quite as simple. From about September through November light becomes crucial in poinsettia plant care. His son, Paul Ecke, developed the technique of grafting two varieties of poinsettia together to produce bushier plants. His son, Paul Ecke, Jr, sent free plants to television stations to use as set decorations from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Many varieties of poinsettia are available, with variegated foliage and bracts ranging from creamy white to blush pink. Miraculously, the weeds sprouted red flowers which became poinsettias. Depending on when you want the poinsettia to be fully flowering and how you intend to care for them after flowering, determines on when you start flowering them. Caring for Outdoor Poinsettia Plants Here is an in-depth look at how to keep your poinsettias blooming and booming through the holidays – and how to overwinter them after they finish blooming to use again next Christmas season! When poinsettia plants fail early in the season, it can most often be attributed to too much, or too little watering. Poinsettia flowers are actually the tiny yellow structures found inside the colored bracts. Answer: Poinsettias are perennials so they will not bloom until the second year of growth. Flowers in a vase, houseplants, even the imitation/silk plants are chewed on. Continue with the same watering and fertilization schedule. You can start planting poinsettia outdoors after all chance of frost has passed. Start your seeds in the spring, but don't expect any flowers until the second Christmas after you plant them. Don’t transplant poinsettia plants outdoors right after Christmas. When you purchase your plants during the cold holiday season, make sure that they are wrapped up well to prevent them from getting chilled. Aside from the Christmas tree itself, no plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia. Poinsettias are shade lovers. The second factor that can affect the longevity of blooms is the amount of heat in the room. One thing is for sure, keeping plants alive is a much better option than having to repurchase them every single year! Poinsettias will bloom longest when kept between 70 and 75 degrees. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. A dark closet with easy access works best for this. It is an indoor plant that you can grow throughout the year, allowing it to provide a splash of color within the household. And, with good care, a poinsettia plant can maintain its beauty for much longer than the Christmas season. Locate plants so that they receive a fair amount of indirect light, but not direct sunlight through a window. They are grown in greenhouses which regulate the amount of light they get to force them into bloom at the proper time. They are native to Mexican forests. In order to encourage blooming, poinsettia plants require long periods of darkness at night (about 12 hours). AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Poinsettias reign supreme as the main flowers of the holiday season. Well, in about the 17th century, Christmas and the poinsettia plant coincided because of a legend. Ideal air temperature is 60⁰F to 70⁰F. How to Grow Poinsettias So They'll Re-Bloom Next Christmas 1) December - March: Basic Care. Prune back the plants in early summer, and again in mid-summer to keep the plant full and bushier. Thanks. Answer: Poinsettias are perennials so they will not bloom until the second year of growth. In the U.S., they are hardy only in zones 9 through 11, so they must be brought indoors during the colder months of the year. Poinsettia plants grow best during the winter months, which is why they are the most popular potted plant during the holidays. In the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico began to use poinsettias as decorations for Christmas. Today, tens of millions of poinsettias are sold during the Christmas season. In their eyes, the leaves growing in a star shape represented the Star of Bethlehem and the red color of the bracts represented Jesus' blood that was shed to cleanse the sins of believers. An angel appeared to her and told her to gather weeds from the roadside and place them at the altar of her church. Here is to keeping your poinsettia plants beautiful through the holiday season, and keeping them around year after year to enjoy! Once all of the leaves have died back, prune the bushes back to two buds and keep it in a bright location. Continue the biweekly fertilization schedule. As can keeping these gorgeous perennial plants alive through late winter, spring and summer to use again next year. At home, you can use a box large enough to cover your plant completely. Water only when the soil feels dry. Since poinsettia plants are from the tropics, they prefer surroundings that simulate that type of environment. As you can see, these plants are DIVAS. The plants will enter a dormancy period and will begin to lose leaves—this is normal. In the fall, you will need to bring your plant back indoors when the nighttime temperatures are consistently below 45⁰F. And that’s it! It should be neither dripping wet nor totally dry, and if it is, … Poinsettias are cheery plants that are widely grown indoors over Christmas for their brightly coloured bracts. Continue to keep your poinsettias in a place with plenty of light and water as directed above. And when you do water, water so the soil is moist and damp, but not saturated. In fact, you can even plant them directly into the soil if desired. As crazy at it sounds, it is darkness that will bring a poinsettia into full color. The color is created through the process of photoperiodism, meaning they require a specific number of hours of darkness each night to change from green to red or other colors. As always, feel free to email us at thefarm@owgarden.com with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! It is all part of the perennial’s natural cycle. Long before Christianity reached the western hemisphere, the Aztecs cultivated poinsettia plants for a variety of medicinal purposes. Poinsettia plants need light to bloom, but again, not too much. And although poinsettia plants have a bit of rap for being dangerous to pets and children – see our article on the myths of the poinsettia plant : Are Poinsettias Really Dangerous? For best results, place the box over your plant at 5 pm (or whenever you return from work) and leave it there until 8 am (or whenever you leave for work) every day until color begins to show in the bracts when you remove the box in the morning. Higher temperatures will cause the plant to prematurely drop its colorful bracts. As soon as you see the blooms begin to change color, it is time to bring it out full time to enjoy. Once the blooms have faded, begin by cutting the foliage and stems back to around 4″ above the soil surface. So, flowering starts to be initiated starting at fall solstice (that would be September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere this year). To rebloom, poinsettias need about 10 weeks with 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. Reduce their water supply a little at the same time, but ensure they are kept in a bright (but not sunny) position in the daytime. It's somewhat tricky to get your poinsettia to bloom again. Y0ur instructions are very clear and the photos are beautiful. To get plants to bloom around the holiday season, they need to go through a 6 to 8 week period of darkness to force the blooms. Outside, it will need to grow in a semi-shady location. The plants are very sensitive to cold. Plant it directly into your garden or Give it a good trimming, into a nice rounded shape. Once nights become longer in fall, bring the poinsettia indoors. Simple really once you understand why the bracts change color. There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available in shades of red, pink, white, and yellow—solids, streaked, marbled, and multicolored. When fall temperatures begin to drop, bring the plant indoors. Question: When should you start poinsettia seeds to have a plant for Christmas? Once summer is over, bring your plants indoors before nighttime temperatures … I'm sure someone (other than myself) will find this article very useful. Before you do so, you might want to repot it if it has outgrown the pot it came in. Nevertheless, in spite of the effort involved, the reward is great. If possible, check the soil before buying. With colors ranging from deep red to crimson, white, pink and all types of variations, they are perfect for brightening up any holiday display. At the end of July, you should prune your plant again. Poinsettia “blooms” are actually bracts, and not a flower at all. But more on that later. The cupboard fun commences in September to early October. That’s the whole secret to making a poinsettia bloom every year at Christmas. Over-watering causes the most issues for poinsettia plants. Poinsettias need this prolonged period of darkness to rebloom. After-Christmas Care for Poinsettias. Poinsettias didn’t become a traditional holiday decoration until Paul Ecke, an American plant grower, grown them during the Christmas season. Caren White (author) on November 08, 2017: Linda, I have the same problem! Poinsettia's might not be the first plant you think of when you're basking in the summer sun in your garden, but this is when your plant has the best chance to rebloom, in time to shine for it's second Christmas. The Poinsettia is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. You will have to artificially create these conditions and it's crucial that you be diligent. The first, and the biggest of all is proper watering. In late February or early March, prune your plant back to 4- to 6-inches leaving between one and three leaves on each stem. To achieve colour for Christmas in the southern hemisphere, plants are grown in light- and temperature-controlled glasshouses to trick them into thinking it’s winter, not summer. Poinsettias make great holiday decorations and they’re often given as gifts in late November and throughout December. One other interpretation as to why people use poinsettias at Christmas is because the plant is said to represent the Star of Bethlehem. Poinsettia is more than just a Christmas flower. Thank you for your kind words and for commenting. If left wrapped too long, the stems of the leaves and bracts will begin to droop. As spring and warmer temperatures arrive, you can take the plants outside. As days shorten and nights get longer, poinsettias and many other autumn and winter-flowering plants are triggered to bloom. Generations of gardeners have put in the time to keep their Poinsettia alive and thriving for wintertime color. Cut it back to 4 inches, leaving one to three leaves on each stem, and begin fertilizing every two weeks. But with just a bit of care, they can easily be kept from year to year. First, let’s start with how to care for poinsettias during their “blooming” season. Said star was the light that led the three wise men to the baby Jesus when he was born. By Linda Langelo | December 17, 2020 at 11:01 a.m. Allow your plants to dry out completely between waterings. Answer: Poinsetta plants are sold in December which are already blooming. The more sun the better. I hope you have a wonderful day. Looking to keep your poinsettia plants looking healthy and beautiful all through the Christmas season this year? If left wrapped too long, the stems of the leaves and bracts will begin to droop. The trick is how to get them to bloom again the following year. Once you bring your poinsettia plants home, water them often— whenever the leaves are... 2) April - May: Decrease Watering and Begin Cutting. Fertilize your plant using a soluble houseplant fertilizer as directed on the label. Next, place the plant in a sunny windowsill, continuing to water as needed. Locating plants in a sunny windowsill will speed up their bloom time greatly. The Poinsettia is a finicky plant to grow. But keeping them healthy and strong all through the season can be a challenge for many. For growing poinsettia plants during the summer, you can move your plant outdoors to a sunny location. From October 1 to December 1 (or for at least 40 days), a poinsettia will need a strict light/dark regimen to produce color. If you want them in full bloom by Thanksgiving, start on October 1st and by Halloween for Christmas. Question: Where can we get poinsetta plants that will bloom for December? It all started with an immigrant from Germany named Albert Ecke. Nurseries use this feature to manipulate their flowering, producing poinsettias in bloom at virtually any time of the year. It cannot be exposed to any kind of light such street lights, car headlights, TV’s, computer screens or even light under the door. No plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia, especially the ruby-red variety. Poinsettias are always popular at Christmas so we like to ensure we have a great range of strong British Grown plants for the festive season. And what a rigmarole! As with over-watering, under-watering will cause a plant to lose it bracts and color prematurely as well. It can also damage the foliage as the sun’s rays filter through the glass. Not only can overwatering lead to the yellowing of leaves, it can also rot away the root structure, killing the plant in the process. Once you understand why the bright red flowers develop, it’s easy to force your poinsettia to bloom year after year. Place Plants Inside. You can bring it outdoors during the day if you like. Less than a decade later, the poinsettia (named for Poinsett) was being grown in nurseries around the United States. During the holidays and throughout the winter, keep your plant in a sunny window. The Poinsettia. If you are able, you can prolong the life of the colorful bracts by moving your plant into a cool room that 55⁰F to 60⁰F at night. As fall arrives, it is time to start preparing your poinsettia for holiday blooming! Commercial greenhouses achieve this using opaque shade cloths to cover their plants at night. general purpose fertilizer every two to three weeks. Too much water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and then drop. How To Keep Poinsettia Plants Beautiful – Before & After Christmas. As mid-January and February roll around, even the best-kept poinsettia plants will begin to fade. Don’t be alarmed, the plant may look quite pathetic at this point, but it will come back! Fertilize at each of these points with a balanced, all-purpose organic fertilizer to provide strength to the plant. They can be red, orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled. The third and final factor for extending blooms is the amount of natural light the plant receives. At the end of September, place plants in a dark, cool area (65 degree-ish) for 14 to 16 hours a day. Two months of this short-day treatment, about a month before Christmas and summer to use poinsettias decorations... An immigrant from Germany named Albert Ecke nurseries use this feature to their. As can keeping these gorgeous perennial plants alive through late winter, spring and summer to use again year... Leaves to turn yellow and then follow my instructions to make it bloom again the year... That ’ s start with how to grow in a sunny windowsill, continuing to water as needed that begins. Decoration until Paul Ecke, Jr, sent free plants to dry out completely between waterings begin by cutting foliage. 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