If you are like most gardeners, you cannot toss out the holiday plants when they start to decline. Well, which ones are worth keeping? And you know it is going to take some work. I used to toss out the poinsettias but look at the results from one saved this year. Actually the color is still forming but it is a beautiful pink with red blotches.
Here is how to make saving the poinsettia easy. First keep it moist until the holidays are over. Then in January give it a spot outdoors but protect it from the very cold weather. Then do the following.
- Water when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch
- Begin every other week feedings with a general container plant fertilizer.
- Repot the plant in March or transplant it to the landscape.
- Prune the poinsettia back to within 12 to 18 inches of the soil. This might just include pinching out the tips for plants in pots.
- Continue feedings and waterings.
- Keep the plants in full sun to light shade.
- Prune again when the plants produce a foot of new growth - then remove the top 4 inches.
- Repeat the pruning process after each flush of new growth through August.
- Continue to feed and water the plantings
- Starting in October make sure the plants receive no nighttime light.
There you go - that should be easy but you have to stay alert to the plant needs. Do repot the plants as they grow bigger if they are being maintained in containers. Gradually step them up to larger containers over time. If given too large a container too soon you may end up with root rot problems.