If you are fortunate enough to still have a good, thriving Christmas poinsettia and have wondered once what it might take to bring it back into bloom, wonder no more…it is now time to cut it back. This is not a process that you can wait until next month to do. You must do it today or give up and throw it away. Poinsettias are very sensitive to many things and doing the right “thing” at the right time is a must.
Generally your poinsettia should have been cut back already once or twice, and none of that really matters until now. Now is the time for the last and final cut back and it needs to happen. My friends at the bank in Waynedale have kept theirs in the drive-through window since last Christmas for all to see, and without ever cutting it back even once. But it must happen now if there is any hope of growing it to the right size and for it to bloom again by Christmas.
As long as a poinsettia plant is blooming, it is not growing. Only the act of pruning stimulates the plant back into active growth. So cut off at least to the half-way point and repot the plant now into a 2-inch larger pot. Continue growing outside for best results until temperatures drop to no lower than 55-degrees at which time you must then move it into the house and place in the sunniest window. Poinsettias like fertilizers during this growing time so use some every time you water at full strength and sometimes at half strength. The more sun it receives, the more fertilizer it likes. Oh, and don’t worry about that “putting it into the closet or into a dark place” as that is not quite the truth. I will explain further in the September issue.