Growing a Poinsettia

I have always considered myself to be a good plant person. I own 9 very large African violets, one spider, Christmas cactus, poinsettia, pot of begonias and several medium bamboo. However very successful with the African violets, every once in a while a bamboo dies which I'm told shouldn't happen. My cactus isn't showing much sign of growth either. Every time I've tried a poinsettia, they die in two weeks. I carefully water it, it gets sunlight whenever it is shining in the SE. My two ideas were that I should re-pot them in better soil and should stop bottom feeding. If you can help me keep my poinsettia alive that would be great.

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Hardiness Zone: 6b

Jordan from Farmington, MI

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January 27, 20090 found this helpful

Well I keep poinsettias for years and what I've learned is first off always plant in a clay pot with lots of good drainage. They hate to have wet feet. I keep mine in a sunny yet cool window in the winter.

As soon as the danger of frost has passed mine go outside, but not in direct sunlight, they will burn quickly. I water them well once a week, and lightly feed once a month. They stay outdoors just before the first frost. I believe this is the key to them flowering come winter.

When they come in I stop feeding and water very little till the middle of November, then I give them a good feeding and start watering, and in a couple of weeks their beautiful red flowers begin and last until the end of summer. I treat my xmas cactus the same way, and it's over 30 years old, and blooms every year, HTH

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January 28, 20090 found this helpful

Pointsettias are really tropical plants I believe - so they rarely last long - don't even know how long they last in their own environment.

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January 28, 20090 found this helpful

Poinsettias are really sensitive and tropical plants, cant stand particular things like drafts, temp changes, too much light over half a day will cause them to fade. I have lost bamboos after about a year too. Have you tried a light fertilizer on it? They are probably too picky to last really long. Good luck anyway :)

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January 30, 20090 found this helpful

I found this article on-line and use it for my guide. I hope it helps.

DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.

DO provide room temperatures between 68 - 70° F. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia.

DO water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.

DO use a large, roomy shopping bag to protect your plant when transporting it.

DO fertilize your plant AFTER THE BLOOMING SEASON with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

DON'T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Avoid placing plants near appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

DON'T expose plants to temperatures below 50° F. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so avoid placing them outside during the winter months.

Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.

DON'T expose your plant to chilling winds when transporting it.

DON'T fertilize your plant when it is in bloom.

How to Re-Bloom Your Poinsettia

When the poinsettia's bracts age and lose their aesthetic appeal, there's no reason to throw it out. With proper care, dedication and a certain amount of luck, you too can re-bloom your poinsettia!

By late March or early April, cut your poinsettia back to about 8" in height. Continue a regular watering program, and fertilize your plant with a good, balanced all-purpose fertilizer. By the end of May, you should see vigorous new growth.

Place your plants outdoors, where they can bask in the warmth of spring and summer, after all chance of frost has passed and night temperatures average 55° F or above. Continue regular watering during the growth period, and fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks.

Pruning may be required during the summer to keep plants bushy and compact. Late June or early July is a good time for this step, but be sure not to prune your plant later than September 1. Keep the plants in indirect sun and water regularly.

Around June 1, you may transplant your poinsettia into a larger pot. Select a pot no more than 4 inches larger than the original pot. A soil mix with a considerable amount of organic matter, such as peat moss or leaf mold, is highly recommended. In milder climates, you may transplant the plant into a well-prepared garden bed. Be sure the planting bed is rich in organic material and has good drainage.

The poinsettia is a photoperiodic plant, meaning that it sets bud and produces flowers as the Autumn nights lengthen. Poinsettias will naturally come into bloom during November or December, depending on the flowering response time of the individual cultivar.

Timing to produce blooms for the Christmas holiday can be difficult outside of the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Stray light of any kind, such as from a street light or household lamps, could delay or entirely halt the re-flowering process.

Starting October 1, the plants must be kept in complete darkness for 14 continuous hours each night. Accomplish this by moving the plants to a totally dark room, or by covering them overnight with a large box. During October, November and early December, poinsettias require 6 - 8 hours of bright sunlight daily, with night temperatures between 60 - 70° F. Temperatures outside of this range could also delay flowering.

Continue the normal watering and fertilizer program. Carefully following this regime for 8 to 10 weeks should result in a colorful display of blooms for the holiday season!

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January 30, 20090 found this helpful

I can't help with the bamboo, but I pretty much neglect my poinsettias and they seem to thrive for me. I only water it when it looks like it's about to wilt. I water it well...let it sit a few minutes, then I drain whatever water is left in the saucer so that it is not sitting in water. It sits on my dining room table and gets decent light there. I don't even repot mine when I bring them home from the nursery. Works fine for me. I don't have the patience to get them to "bloom" again, but I sometimes put them outside in the summer and grow them as an annual (just for the green foliage).

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January 30, 20090 found this helpful

I just replied to your post with a picture and didn't realize that I wasn't logged in. My post should show up momentarily.

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January 30, 20090 found this helpful

I have what I call a "dead" thumb. I kill everything. I either over water or under water. I even kill cactus. But one year I brought home the usual "2 week Christmas plant", my poinsettia. I marked on the calendar when I watered it and noticed that it looked like it needed it again on the 3rd day. I gave it half a small juice glass of water. So I marked off all the days ahead of time that I should water it, every 3rd day.

To my disbelief, it lasted until November, 11 months later! I was so mad at myself for getting too busy with the Christmas craziness and neglected my poor plant and killed it. I will try to do better next time, who knows I might turn into a "greenish-brown" thumb.

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January 31, 20090 found this helpful

Advice I received as a resident of Maine, is to be sure you keep your pointsettia out of drafts. I believe bottom feeding is a great method to water all plants.

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