Sent question about pruning a large poinsettia
Hello! It did not appear as if my question and pics got sent the first time? I have a large potted poinsettia I've had since 2009 and never pruned. Now I'm scared to! What should I do with it? It's in a sunny window all year, as it's now too big to get outside in the summer. I'd like to keep it health so am looking for advice, thanks. -Vanessa Hales
Columbia County Pennsylvania
Your timing is good since poinsettias should be pruned back in late February/early March. The following links should provide some help in how and when to prune it. If you want it to re-bloom during the Christmas season it will be necessary to keep it in darkness for 12-14 hours per night beginning in late October. I hope this is of some help.
Thanks for getting back to me. The 2nd link did not work, however. The first one suggests I trim it all the way back to 6 inches! My plant is over 3 feet tall; should I really trim it back that much? I doubt it. Did the photos come through? I'm really quite worried about the health of this plant, and fear pruning.
Poinsettia plants are fast growers. It's unusual to maintain them as an indoor houseplant because they are relatively inexpensive and most are purchased for their Christmas blooms. Have your plants been blooming each year? Based on the age of your plant it is likely root bound and would need to be replanted at some time.
Based on the pictures you provided some of the the plant stems have been pruned back to the base.
Re-potting is always somewhat risky. Is there an emotional attachment to the plant that you want to keep it because the time and effort to re-pot would likely exceed the cost to purchase a plant about half the size during the next poinsettia season in November/December.
If you still want to prune are you trying to achieve limited height/spread or both?
Please advise and I'll try to respond.
LOL! Yes, I know this plant is unusual - one of the reasons I want to keep it is that I'm proud of it! And yes, there's an emotional attachment. (Odd, I know...) It does bloom every year, although not always at Christmas time. I don't necessarily want to prune it, but thought I was supposed to in order to keep it healthy. If not, I'll just let it go. Everyone in the house is rather scared of it anyway - it's like my pet! Thank you for your advice; I truly appreciate it. - Vanessa Hales