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How can I Reflower a Poinsettia?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Working to reflower a poinsettia takes time and effort, but you may see rewards in its beautiful December blooms. If your New Year’s resolution is to get more than one year out of the plant, you essentially must replicate greenhouse conditions in order to meet with success. If you have a greenhouse, you’re in luck; if not, luck and hard work may help you to reflower a poinsettia. You must provide basic plant care, prune at the right time, control temperature and exposure to light, and fertilize.

You'll need to keep the plant healthy during the holiday season if you plan on reflowering it. If you have allowed your poinsettia to dry out, it is unlikely you will be able to restore it for next year. Therefore, be certain you are watering the plant, and keep it away from direct sources of heat like fireplaces or heating vents.

About two months into the new year, the poinsettia will naturally begin to fade. Keep the plant indoors, but allow it to get some sun by placing it near a window with direct light exposure. This is the first direct step, aside from plant care that will help you reflower a poinsettia.

Mid-April is the time trim if you want to reflower a poinsettia. If this is the first year you have owned the poinsettia, you'll want to prune all stems to approximately 6 inches (15.24 cm) above dirt level. Pruning is essential since it stimulates new growth.

You will be unbelievably fortunate if you reflower a poinsettia that isn’t properly fertilized. Some nurseries recommend fertilizing with nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus every third time you water the plant. Some people can get away with two fertilizations a week. Fertilization should begin in May.

May or June is also a good time to consider repotting the poinsettia. Gently remove the plant from the pot and inspect the roots. If the plant is rootbound, you will notice a high number of roots that seem to constitute most of the bottom of the dirt.

This definitely suggests that you should repot the plant. You may want to use potting soil, and choose a pot at least a couple of inches (5.08 cm) larger. Once you have repotted, the plant should definitely be fertilized every other time you water. If the weather is moderate, you can place the plant outside in a partial shade environment. The temperature at night should be no less than 55 F (12.77 C) at night.

When the dog days of summer approach, you can quickly lose the chance to reflower a poinsettia if the plant is not brought back inside. It does tend to fare well in direct sunlight indoors. The plant will hopefully have started to leaf at this point, and some gardeners recommend a second pruning at this time, leaving about four leaves per stem.

The hard part comes next. From mid-September through late November, the plant should be exposed to direct sunlight during daylight hours. Then, the plant should be moved into complete darkness until about 8am each morning. Even a trace amount of light can ruin the chance to reflower a poinsettia, so this program needs to be followed rigidly.

You should start to see some colored leaves by mid to late November. This is a chance to shout hooray and discontinue the day/night routine. You should now be able to place the poinsettia in direct light and soon see beautiful flowers to reward your hard work.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon973804 — On Oct 14, 2014

This may be a dumb question, but how should one time the covering of the plants after the time change in early November? Will the plants notice the hour shift, or do I now need to cover at 4 pm and uncover at 7 am?

By anon302491 — On Nov 09, 2012

I live in a temperate region of Australia. My poinsettia (a Christmas gift) has quadrupled in size in two years of living out of doors. It has flowered, as nature intended, each winter - which is not Christmas time. I follow no laborious routine of constant fertilizing or moving of the plant. I repotted it on a whim - rather than throw it out - after the Christmas I got it, as it was looking grim. Then it started to grow like mad and - surprise, surprise - burst into red six months later when winter hit.

During the 40 degrees Celsius summers, I keep it in a sun-dappled/shady spot. In winter I keep it where it can get plenty of light/sun. I live in the city, so there is no 'absolute darkness'. I had always believed articles like these that crap on about 'the only way to get a poinsettia to re-flower...' and then describe some ridiculous regime so I had always thrown my poinsettias in the bin when they started to look a bit sad post Christmas. My heart breaks for all those murdered plants!

Sure there is a period where you need to cut them back and they look a bit ugly, but throw some good compost and acid-loving, slow-release fertilizer pellets (same as one would use for azalea or gardenias) on twice a year and allow to dry out between waterings and they will reward you!

By anon155322 — On Feb 23, 2011

I live in India, and it's just so great to see this plant which originated in mexico to travel the world and even blossom here. just love it. thanks for the article.

By anon55296 — On Dec 06, 2009

I live in Fla. and after the holiday, I just stick those plants in the ground. I do prune and feed them throughout the year.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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