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How to Care for a Poinsettia Plant

Do you have a poinsettia plant that is still around from Christmas?  I usually purchase a poinsettia plant for my home during the holiday or receive one as a gift.  I don't have much of a "green thumb" and usually by the end of the holiday, it looks pretty dreary and ends of in the garbage.  I'm so glad I found tips on how to keep a poinsettia plant healthy, even to the point where you can enjoy it the following season.   

First, a poinsettia plant is a tropical plant.  That means it likes a lot of sun and moisture. Keep your plant in a sunny window and water it often, just to keep the soil moist. When water drips from the bottom that is enough water. You don't want to over water it.  Poinsettia plants like the temperature to be around 65-75 degrees. 

After Christmas around April 1st you will need to prepare your plant for re-potting.  Cut back on the water a bit and let your plant dry out between watering. Place your plant in a cool spot where it is around 60 degrees (basement or garage). Around the middle of May cut back the stems to 4 inches and place your plant in a new pot with fresh soil.  Place the plant back in a sunny window and keep the temperature at 65-75 degrees. 

Summer is the time to start fertilizing every 2 weeks around June.  You can place your pot outside in a partially sunny location.  In July, pinch the stems back by about one inch and continue watering and fertilizing. In mid August move the plant back inside and place near a sunny window, watering when needed. 

In October, you want to get your plant blooming again.  Encourage blooming by placing your poinsettia plant in a dark location from 5 pm to 8 am., preferably in a closet that you don't regularly open.  After 8 am, bring your plant back in a sunny location.  They need about 12 hours of sunlight per day for 10 weeks.  Create artificial sunlight if you have to.  You can stop the darkness treatment in November.  Place near a sunny window and keep your plant moist.  You should see some blooming.  Stop fertilizing December 15 and enjoy for the holiday with your beautiful poinsettia plant. 

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