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