arborvitea_96(5a,chemung)January 6, 2011

I have heard that poinsettia plants can be made to come back every year but I have never seen it done before. Can it really be done? I searched on the web but didn't find much information on the subject(I didn't search hard lol.) I think this would be pretty cool to try. Has anybody ever tried it and succeeded? Does the zone you live in matter?

sorry for all the questions lol, And thank you for any thoughts that you might have.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in what.. might become the understatement of 2011 ... no.. you didnt try very hard.. lol

check the link .. 244,000 results in 0.07 seconds .. and i will leave you to the particulars ...

bottom line.. though easy to get to live.. including throwing them outdoors for summer ..

getting them to bloom again for next xmas will be the trick ... and frankly.. near impossible ... but for a lot of experience ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 6:38PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Poinsettias are perennial and can live and bloom for many years, more than forty years in my experience. They don't require anything special, other than living in the correct zone(Mexico is ideal)or being able to create a micro climate similar to frost free southern California or Mexico. If you send me an email I will send you pictures of my outdoor culture. Al

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:32AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

oh these darn zone thingees ...

what al can do in CA. .. is not what most of us can do in the great white north ... where are you???


    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:50AM
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Taking a small hint from the sign in - Chemung? Chemung county, New York??

Forget growing them outside. They belong to the family Croakus Immediatus when hit by cold temps. Arguably, trying to keep them from year to year produces an outcome which is in no way equal to or better than going to your nearest grocery store or Big Box and buying a beautiful new one next December... the $12 size from Home Depot this year was a huge, blossom covered plant.

Beautiful as they are, they do get tiresome when the heat and low humidity indoors starts taking its toll. Then they live in the garage until enough snow melts and the compost pile can be reached.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 10:51AM
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I found Al's reponse to be somewhat misleading and a tad disingenuous (no offense, Al :-)). The areas of this country where poinsettias can be considered truly perennial and live outdoors for any length of time are extremely restricted.

For the most part, they should be considered a very seasonal flowering houseplant......and a rather finicky one at that. If the plant is kept alive, reflowering (actually the coloring of the uppermost leaves or bracts - the real flowers are tiny little yellow structures known as cyathia that are held in the center of the terminal leaf clusters) is dependent on photoperiodism or a specified length of time where the plant remains in complete darkness for at least 12 hours per day. Many folks DO attempt this process but success is iffy. And the plant will seldom resemble that of the fresh offerings present during the holiday season. These are greenhouse plants grown under very controlled conditions and are treated with growth regulators to induce multiple budding and a very compact habit at flowering.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 12:50PM
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Yes, I do live in Chemung county, NY (the great white north). That is zone 5a.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 5:50PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Here is a link that might be helpful: When will my Poinsetta leaves turn red again? and I noticed on one Ken's links above info on fertilizing, pruning & ideal temps, which you may have already seen by now:

How to Re-Bloom Your Poinsettia

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 7:27PM
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Forest-fan(8a South Carolina Sand)

This is one plant that I have a hard time keeping alive, never mind changing the leaf colors. I either over or under water...I don't know. I louse it up any number of ways. What is the correct care for a poinsettia, please?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 5:35PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the problem is that they are grown in a spongelike media.. that is perfected for a greenhouse ... where the perfect amount of water is applied precisely every day ... based on perfect humidity in the greenhouse ...

and none of that describes your house.. or even worse.. a house with forced air.. in the great white north ...

consider it a disposable holiday plant.. and your life will become so much happier .. lol ..

otherwise.. let it near .. key word >>> NEAR ... dry in between waterings ... and that is the problem with the sponge... one day damp.. next day bone dry.. and a few days later.. the plant is dead ...

but whatever you do.. dont rot the roots with constant cold standing moisture ... and that is the other problem.. at night.. when the furnace kicks down.. the media goes to house temp.. which is what.. 62 degrees in the north .. and that is not a root temp for a tropical .... in a soggy media ...

forest.. you should have started your own post.. so replies come to you.. and if more specifically titled... would be searchable for others ...


ps: who knew that name was a county in NY ... what .. am i supposed to be clairvoyant???? .. lol

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 7:11PM
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You can try reblooming a poinsettia as an experiment, using a dark closet at the critical time to provide complete darkness and stimulate the growth of flowers/bracts - but as noted it's a pain in the neck to provide the conditions the plant needs, and you're unlikely to get a nice compact blooming plant that looks anything near as good as what's available in stores.

A poinsettia relative, Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns) would be a much easier and more rewarding alternative at holiday time, particularly the large-flowered hybrids that have come on the market in recent years. I have several flowering under lights and they are spectacular. Very easy to keep going from year to year and no special light/darkness requirements.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:48AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

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This plant has been blooming for more than forty years. In 1990 we had temperatures in December of 14 degrees four nights in a row. The plant was frosted to the ground and took two years to regrow from the roots. It was originally planted by the lady who lived here from 1913 till 1960 when we bought the house. It was only a Christmas Poinsettia, planted after Christmas. Al

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:11AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

that is an incredible story al...

we tried the dark closet with specific light hours for years.. failed COMPLETELY ...

so years run by.. and dad throw it on a shelf int he basement ... and put a light with a timer on it.. and low and behold... sooner or later the thing blooms .. whats that all about...you figure forest fan will ever come back and acknowledge all this ??? HOWEVER.. they never bloomed precisely at xmas ... I THINK.. temp is also important to trigger flower formation ... as it is pretty nippy in dads basement ...

basically.. you have to trick it into thinking its late winter [in the jungle its native to] .. low light.. cool temps.. so that when you increase light.. it thinks spring is coming along.. so it flowers .... way out of bounds for most novices ..


    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:16PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Below is a link to what I do. 10 hours light, 14 hours dark. Fluorescent lights that are a mix of warm and cool white.


Here is a link that might be useful: Poinsettia Chronology

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:09PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

BTW Al, that is one awesome plant!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 10:12PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

ken it is not a jungle plant, it needs full sun, I never watered it. This is growing in the town of Watsonville, four miles from the water of the Monterey bay in California. If it was not frosted first, it always bloomed for Christmas. When it frosted it would be pruned back two or more feet. By July it would be too tall and spindly and would be cut back again to about 3 feet tall. This helped a lot to cause more branching. No pest ever bothered it. The exposure is to the south and the shape of the house gave it a little protection. Commercial growers in the area grew them in greenhouses for the Christmas season. Al

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 11:43PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

when you live in zone 5 MI .. the great white north ... zone 9 CA may as well be a jungle or more precisely ...a tropical area ...

it does extremely well outside in MI.. after all chance of frost is gone.. say june thru sept ... it grows like a weed.. especially if its repotted.. or even stuck in the ground ... out of that sponge stuff ...

come sept.. time to repot.. and bring indoors.. where it will have a lot of trouble.. especially once the forced air furnace its leaves grown outdoors ... in other words.. lack of proper humidity for a rain forest plant ...

the link says : Poinsettias are native to tropical forests of southern Mexico and Central America, where they grow in the wild as bushes or small trees.

yesterday i meant rain forest.. when i said jungle.. as i said.. to a MI peep ... whats the difference. .. lol

now.. on my google search.. whats even more interesting.. is that it is a Euphorbia ... that is so blatantly obvious.. that i wonder how i never put two and two together.. i have euphorbia all over the yard ... go figure.. learn something new everyday .. yesterday.. that al grows them like shrubs.. and today.. this.. whats that all about ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 8:13AM
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The biggest difficulty people have in keeping poinsettias alive is that they need A LOT OF LIGHT. If you are able to provide that, the rest is relatively easy.

Most houseplants are rainforest epiphites growing on the lower branches of trees shaded by the canopy, or else small trees adapted to lurk for decades on the forest floor in very deep shade waiting for a big tree to die so they suddenly begin ultra-rapid growth and join the canopy. That's how our tropical houseplants can get by in the very low light conditions of most homes.

Poinsettias are not that; they're native to slightly drier, less-shaded areas with more seasonality. In the house they should be in a very bright South-facing window. Outdoors, where you can set them in the summer, they should be in light shade.

They especially need a lot of light because the colorful red or pink leaves are not photosynthetic.

The second most difficult thing about poinsettias is that they are pretty sensitive to moisture levels; they don't like to get bone-dry, but they do get root-rot very easily if they are wet.

To save a newly-bought poinsettia after you are done showing it, re-pot it in a well-draining pot with a tray (the tinfoil wrapping they come in holds the water too deep and can drown the roots) and put it in a bright window. It may go dormant, but in my experience this can be brief.

As for getting them to re-bloom, it supposedly occurs when they start getting exactly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark in a 24-hour period. This happens with natural sunlight in March and again in October. In my experience it happens with shorter light periods than that.

But it also doesn't necessarily happen to the whole plant at once in the artificial conditions of a home; each branch is "triggered" individually. So in my experience what happens is that, for whatever reason, one branch or half of the plant will enter the bloom phase and start producing red leaves, while the rest of the plant is still green. The colored branches are most commonly the ones closest to the window. I think it may be because indoor lights prevent the inward-facing branches from getting the proper 12 hours of dark.

(I'm sure you know that the colored part of the plant is leaves, not flowers, yet they still always occur along with actual flowers, which are small, yellow and sticky and occur at the end of the stem.)

In any case, you don't want your poinsettia to bloom too often, because that's very taxing on the plant and the most likely time that the plant will die. Sometimes when poinsettias drop their leaves and begin to recover, you're still in the period of short days in early spring, and will find that the plant's first new leaves are also colored, which is very bad because the plant is using the low remaining energy reserves it has to produce leaves that aren't photosynthetic. The plant can potentially go into an irreversible collapse, trying to save itself with progressively weaker leaves that form then drop and are useless to the plant because they aren't green.

For this reason I don't like to force re-blooms. I just like to grow it as a green houseplant and let it surprise me when the conditions are just right and it blooms. It will not look the same as the store-bought plants because there will still be more green on it; there will be a small shock of red at the end of each green-leafed stem, but I think that's a good thing because it's safer from the cascading collapse that I described.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 2:16AM
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If you really want a nice display of colored leaves, find some college-aged kid who has experience growing marijuana.

The process of getting poinsettias to bloom and marijuana to bud is virtually identical.

(And there are LOTS of websites teaching you how to do the latter, ha.)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 2:20AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

They are so cheap to buy new and healthy every year, I never did understand why so many want to keep them. They are not very attractive when out of bloom and it is very difficult and labor intensive to get them to bloom again. Grow lights and absolute light blocking shade cloth certainly would help and yes, a marijuana grow op would be perfect. They are usually completely indoors so just shutting off the lights puts them in complete darkness.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 2:28PM
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Poinsettia varieties now make it much easier to grow then it used to be. Some are bred to bloom earlier, and most all of them now (and for the last twenty years) are bred so that growth regulators are not necessary. Long nights are necessary, and twelve uninterrupted hours are a good guideline, but not cut in stone. The different cultivars have different trigger times for light response, and also different day length times.

The easiest way to keep them over indoors in the temperate zones is to find an ample natural light source they can receive when it's naturally light outside in a room where they'll not be hit by artificial light during those hours when it's dark outside then let nature do its thing.

They make very nice foliage outside in the colder zones in summer and when I was growing them would often replant them in larger pots and sink those in the gardens to grow as foliage plants and then remove them to a greenhouse before frost. Like Al says, they get woody and turn into shrubs and can get gigantic.

Most people overwater and rot them out, or let them get too dry, and whiteflies just absolutely adore them. They need whacked back to produce more blooms, and if left to their own devices and not pinched ever, will give you one or two huge blooms the size of a volkswagon. LOL.

Is it worth the effort? Depends on how much you want to try it, I guess for the novelty. I know a few people who keep them as pets.......but just seem to have the hang of benign neglect this plant sort of thrives on.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 11:09PM
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Hello everyone.

I am hopping that you can offer me some help.
A friend presented me with a beautiful Poinsettia in early December. As usual every Christmas time, I travelled to Europe in mid-December and returned 3 weeks after. I left my Poinsettia on a tray with water praying that the poor thing hold on until my return. It didn't. :( When I arrived, all the leaves were wilted and some of them were even dry and curled down. I watered it but there were no changes. The leaves did not fall but I guess that is because I am afraid to face that the plant might have died and I do not even touch it.
Does anyone have a suggestion that might save my poinsettia? I know that they are considered disposal plants by the majority but I love to keep my plants as long as possible and I hate to see plants (or other living things) dying.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 12:41PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

veronica.... next time.. start your own post ...

anyway ... keep it properly watered.. but NOT sodden.. and see if it rebuds..

lets hope it just went dormant from lack of water ...

only time will tell..


ps: and next time.. leave it with a friend... lol.. that hindsight is always 20/20

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Thanks Ken. Let's hope you are right.
Don't you think that if it was only lack of water it would react when I watered it?

I am sorry if I did not start a new post. I thought it was more adequate this way.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:10PM
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