Last year's poincettia

Asked August 18, 2016, 3:41 PM EDT

After the holiday season last year I noticed new growth emerging on my poincettia which was on my kitchen table - not getting ANY direct sunlight. It continued to exhibit new growth all winter and the end of May I planted it in the ground on the west side of the house with little hope it would survive. It has received only limited sunlight late in the day and is LARGE, and HEALTHY looking. It has not received any light from street lights or sensor lights. I would love to be able to enjoy it again this year. When should I transplant it into a pot and bring it inside to once again grace my table? I live in eastern Maine and usually we do not get a "hard" frost until the latter part of October and we always have advanced warning of a frost before it happens. Inside, it will again get no direct sunlight.

Penobscot County Maine

4 Responses

It is great to meet another poinsettia enthusiast. It sounds like your poinsettia is pretty happy right now. Poinsettias are native to central Mexico and therefore will not tolerate low temperatures. They will be damaged (severely) if they are exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if it is several nights of exposure (can be lethal). Although your plant might survive a single exposure in the high 40's to low 50's, since it sounds like you have a pretty looking plant, I would not risk damaging it so I'd recommend pulling the plant back inside once you get your first below 50 event.

It sounds like you are already familiar with how to get you poinsettia to re-bloom but if not, you will want to keep it in a dark place (under a box, in a closet) for at least 14 hours every night for a period of 10-12 weeks. In order to bloom by Christmas time you will need to start this ritual by late September.

In late September I brought my poinsettia indoors and have been putting it in a dark room, in the closet for about 14 hours every night since then. It continues to grow and is HUGE and still exhibiting new growth but is GREEN! Should I be fertilizing it? How often? I was so hoping it would be red by Christmas. Should I continue to put it in the closet? Is there anything I can do to get it RED? The last week or two it has dropped a few leaves which are yellow! HELP!

In late September I brought my poinsettia indoors and have been putting it in a dark room, in the closet for about 14 hours every night since then. It continues to grow and is HUGE and still exhibiting new growth but is GREEN! Should I be fertilizing it? How often? I was so hoping it would be red by Christmas. Should I continue to put it in the closet? Is there anything I can do to get it RED? The last week or two it has dropped a few leaves which are yellow! HELP!

From a fact sheet from University of Illinois:

How Do You Get A Poinsettia To Bloom?

To get a poinsettia to reflower you have to keep it in total darkness between 5 pm and 8 am. Start this around October 1st and continue until color shows on the bracts; usually around early to mid-December. Any little exposure to light can prevent flowering. Covering the plant with a light-proof bag and placing it in a closet might work. Night time temperatures above 70-75°F can decay or prevent flowering.