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Don’t Toss That Poinsettia - Keep it Another Year

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Article & Photos by Tom MacCubbin
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Poinsettia Before PruningPoinsettia Before Pruning
Picture: Tom MacCubbin

Many gardeners have poinsettias saved from the holiday season. Do you toss them or do you keep them? Every gardener knows it is hard to toss plants away. Most likely your plants look pretty good and if you are going to keep them, they need a little help to give repeat performances in December.

Right now I am busy trimming my poinsettias back no matter if they are in the ground or in containers. Cut them back to about 12 to 18 inches from the soil. Then if they are in containers you can either plant them in the ground or give them a new and bit larger container.

Mine are going in containers so I select a pot one to two inches larger and then add the plant filling in with a quality potting mixture. If you are going to plant them in the ground improve the sandy soils with organic matter. Some like to use a garden soil or even a potting mixture found at garden centers. All of these mixtures are high in organic matter and have some fertilizer too.

Poinsettia After PruningPoinsettia After Pruning
Picture: Tom MacCubbin


Try to find a sunny or filtered sun location for the plants. I find they do best in the filtered sun but if you keep them moist the full sun spots will do too. In a month or two you have to add more fertilizer. I like to use a slow release product made for use with container or in ground plantings found at garden centers and follow label instructions. Repeat feedings are needed through fall to have attractive poinsettias ready to color-up for the holidays.

More pruning is needed during the growing season and when the shoots grow a foot in length I cut them back about four to six inches. This process is continued through August to produce compact plants with many colorful bracts for the holidays.

Keeping and growing poinsettias is fun but they do take a little care.




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