Poinsettia after christmas – make poinsettia red again

Make poinsettia red

Poinsettia gets all the votes at Christmas for its red bracts and ruby foliage match the colors of the party: red and green. But once the season is over, how can you get it to bloom again? Is it doomed?

Poinsettia, or “Christmas star”, invades garden stores when end-of-year feasts come around.

Its famous appeal lies in the colored bracts that surround the flowers. Red bracts are most common, but there are also pink, salmon orange, yellow, cream, white, mottled cultivars, all with bright green leaves in the background.

Poinsettia grows in the wild in Mexico where it easily reaches six feet (two meters) tall. In more temperate climates, it grows much smaller, even sometimes dwarfish, which is ideal to decorate tables.

  • Poinsettia can hold its rank in decorating homes all year round!

How to make poinsettia red again

Red poinsettia flowers for the second time.The challenge is to make the poinsettia bracts turn red again for the second Christmas in a row! These colored leaves only appear during days with the shortest daylight hours.

  • To make leaves turn red, you need to reduce exposure to light for 2 months.

As early as September, place it in a room that is exclusively lit up by natural light, and check that it stays in complete darkness for 14 hours on a 24 hour day. Do this for eight weeks!

Another solution is to stash your plant in a closet every day from 6 pm till 8 am the next morning… or cover it with a carton box for that span of time. Once the eight weeks are over, treat your poinsettia normally again. At night, let it sleep at a temperature of 60 to 65°F (15 to 18°C). And it will flower again – hopefully! – at Christmas.

Steps to make it bloom again in Winter:

Make poinsettia flower againIn September, give it only natural light. Make sure it’s in complete darkness for 14-hour nights. Better if the room is rather on the cool side, too.

In November, bring it out to your living room and let it feel normal room temperatures.

Comparatively, days will feel longer to the plant and it will bloom again!

Don’t throw your poinsettia away!

Too often, poinsettia has a sad fate once the party is over… and ends up in the trash (or, slightly better, the compost pile…)! After the blooming, simply place it in a cool room and give it water at regular intervals. At the end of spring, reduce watering. When leaves start falling off, the plant is entering its dormant phase. When this occurs, let the soil dry up completely for a month. At the end of this phase, cut it back quite short, 4 inches (10 cm), and water to trigger the vegetation phase. Place it then in a warm spot.

Poinsettia appreciates surrounding temperature between 60 and 74°F (15 and 23°C) while avoiding hot, dry air and drafts. Proper moisture must be ensured (immerse the pot in water at room temperature, then drip excess water out without ever letting water accumulate in the saucer). Also give it a lot of light. You can bring the plant outdoors between May and September and feed it fertilizer over the summer.

Post-blooming Poinsettia care, a summary:

  • Place your poinsettia in a cool room.
  • Water regularly, not too much, until spring.
  • End of spring, stop watering to trigger leaf fall. Keep soil dry for a full month.
  • Cut back stems to 4 inches.
  • Start watering again and place in a warmer spot.

Images: Pixabay: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke, Andreas Lischka, Public Domain: Alabama Extension