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To me, pointsettias are the perennial holiday flower. They bring bright red and green into an otherwise dreary landscape, and even one potted pointsettia brightens an entire room. We give them as gifts to some of our clients and referral partners. This year, we were lucky enough to have a son majoring in plant science. He worked in the greenhouse at his college and raised plenty of beautiful pointsettias from seedlings. He also gave us some tips on what to do with the plants after the blooms fade.

Now that the holidays are over, you’re probably thinking of putting away the decorations and the pointsettias might go in the garbage. A few inches of storage space and a few minutes of thought can keep your plants dormant for part of the year and they’ll bloom bright and beautiful again next year. Here’s what to do:

Once the bloom fades, prune back the plant to 6″ tall. Reduce watering to once every 2-3 weeks – it should get completely dry between waterings.Image

Then, in the summer, repot the plant into a slightly larger pot. Choose one that you’ll enjoy looking at next December. Once you see new growth, start fertilizing it every two weeks but pinch back all the new growth. This encourages the formation of new branches. It can go outside as long as the temperature is above 55 degrees F.

In early October, put your pointsettia in complete darkness for at least 14 hours a day. This encourages it to bloom. You can cover it with a bag or move it to a closet but only let it get about 6 hours of sunlight. Continue to water and fertilize it.

By the end of November or early in December, you should see flower buds. Once you do, you can bring your plant out of the dark and let it become part of your decorations. Continue to water and feed it until the bloom fades.

 

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