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Poinsettia for Christmas

poinsettia300I love Poinsettia and for me Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one; this year I’ve got four! My four poinsettia are arranged on a deep windowsill in red pots surrounded by a green swag which is covered in red fairy lights – it looks amazing!

These days this deciduous shrub is produced in vast quantities and are usually quite small and bushy; ideal for Christmas displays. The red bracts should last for up to six months, depending on the growing conditions. Try to position them in a bright room away from direct sunlight and draughts. To keep them going as long as possible let them dry out then give them a good watering, mist occasionally to promote a humid atmosphere.

The modern Poinsettia is produced to last about six months but if you want to try to make your poinsettia turn red for next Christmas following these steps:

February or March:
Cut the plant back to 4-6 inches. This will encourage the plant to produce new growth and bush out. Stop it getting too “leggy” by pinching out the tips.

Late spring or early Summer:
Re-pot into a slightly larger pot and continue to pinch out the tips. Through the summer keep it outdoors or in a bright room away from direct sunlight, fertilise every two weeks.

Early October:
Place your poinsettia into a totally dark cool place for at least 12 hours a day to encourage flowering and for bracts to turn red. Continue this routine until mid December when the flowers should have formed and the bracts should be a lovely bright red. Then all you need to do is enjoy your plant.