Snowmen, peppermint coffee, strings of lights, and Poinsettia plants: these are just a few of the iconic things that the holiday season brings.
But, what happens to your Poinsettia after the snow melts, peppermint coffee disappears, and the lights are tangled up in the attic again? As a living thing, your Poinsettia has the potential to survive into the next season.
One problem, though… how do you get your Poinsettia to rebloom?
The Origin of Poinsettia
Despite the Poinsettia’s holiday popularity, they are not from the North Pole. They originally come from Mexico, where they grow into bushes (reaching up to 12 feet).
Their tropical home accounts for some of their needs; for example, Poinsettias are not frost-tolerant. They prefer conditions around 60-70°F and do not take kindly to any fluctuations outside of that range.
So, how does nature get Poinsettia to rebloom? These plants are highly photoperiodic. This means that their ‘blooms’ are triggered by changes in light and darkness. So, since the days naturally shorten in the fall season, the plant is exposed to less-and-less light, eventually causing these vibrant variations.
But how does that translate into indoor care?
How to Trigger Reblooming Indoors
Thanks to us, our plants don’t notice the shorter days in the fall. This is because, as soon as we see it’s a night out, we turn the lights on.
We might conclude, however, that artificial light doesn’t affect our plants. (Especially if we haven’t invested in a grow light.) But, this simply isn’t true. While artificial light doesn’t provide the same nourishment as the sun to our plant babies, it still sends distinct signals. Namely, that it’s still bright. In turn, these false signals can ruin the poinsettia reblooming process!
No, we aren’t telling you to sit in the total dark for hours on end. But, commitment and determination are required! Your mini Poinsettia requires 12-15 hours of complete darkness a day for 6-8 weeks (during October-November) to rebloom. Any cracks of light (artificial or natural) can mess up the entire process. So, you have to stay vigilant!
Some opt to put their plant in a dark room, covered by a box. Remember, though, make sure all of the seams on the box are light-proof! You can set reminders on your phone to keep you on schedule. Once removed from its dark spot, place your Poinsettia in bright, indirect light for the rest of the day.
How Often Can Your Poinsettia Rebloom?
Everyone has heard of “Christmas in July,” and you may be hoping that your poinsettia has too! Realistically, however, your mini plant only has the energy to bloom once a year. Don’t be too disappointed; this is just the natural poinsettia process. And, remember, these showy leaves take a lot of effort. Your plant needs time to recover before it can rebloom.
Month-by-Month Poinsettia Reblooming Guide
Reblooming isn’t just about a few months of controlled lighting. It also involves the year-round-care you give your plant baby!
Let your mini Poinsettia rest! It’s just given you the show of its little life! If your plant starts to look a tad tired, don’t give up on it. This is where consistency is vital. Keep your mini Poinsettia in a brightly lit place, receiving at least 6 hours of good light each day. Water your plant when the topsoil feels dry, but don’t let the roots become entirely parched.
Now that your Poinsettia has chilled out for a few months, you should start seeing some new growth! This means you can begin fertilizing. Also, stay on the lookout for any lifeless leaves or flowers (AKA: bracts). At this stage, feel free to cut off the dead growth with a pair of scissors, so that your mini plant can put all of its energy into ‘growing up!’
It’s repotting season! If you determine that it’s time for a ‘plant pant’ upgrade, move to a slightly larger pot. However, while repotting, if you notice the root-ball is smaller than you imagined, abort the mission! Poinsettia hates ‘soggy bottoms,’ so if the roots are too short and can’t absorb all the water at the bottom of the new pot, you’ll end up overwatering without knowing it. But, if the timing is right, go for it! Otherwise, wait until next spring.
The growing season continues! Continue fertilizing, either keeping to a full-strength-fertilizer routine or using half-strength-fertilizer with each watering. Depending on your climate, placing your mini poinsettia outside to enjoy the natural sun and humidity can be a great growing opportunity! A few tips to keep in mind when deciding what months you should put your plant outside:
· Too hot: over 80 degrees
· Too cold: under 50 degrees
· Avoid temperature fluctuations
When deciding when to bring your Poinsettia back inside, try to pick the timing that most resembles the temperature in your house. For example, taking a plant from 78-degree weather into a 65-degree home might shock it! In this instance, consider waiting until the weather is closer to 65-degrees.
Let the photoperiodism begin! Now that your Poinsettia is back inside, the light-and-dark routine can start and continue for 6-8 weeks.
· Daytime: Keep your plant in your brightest indoor spot!
· Nighttime: Shield your poinsettia from all artificial and natural light for 12-15 hours.
During this time, continue your watering and fertilizing routine as usual.
Keep it Up
Some have reported seeing their poinsettia produce yellow buds and gradually transform surrounding leaves into bracts as early as two weeks into the process. While this is an excellent sign, keep up your efforts for the full 6-8 weeks! This will ensure that your mini Poinsettia will have had it’s best chance to fully rebloom, hopefully to its former glory!
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