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Caring for Poinsettias

How to Care for Your Holiday Poinsettia
Many of us buy or receive a poinsettia plant for the holidays, but how many of us know how to care for it so that it looks good for the next holiday season? The UC Master Gardeners of Lake County offer the following tips on poinsettia care:

1)  For maximum plant life, place your poinsettia near a sunny window or another well-lighted area. Do not let any part of the plant touch cold window panes. Poinsettias are tropical plants and are usually grown at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Examine the soil daily and water only when it feels dry. Always water enough to soak the soil at the bottom of the pot.

2)  To have a well-shaped plant for the following year, cut each of the old flowering stems or branches back to 4 to 6 inches in height in February or early March. Leave one to three leaves on each of the old stems or branches as the new growth will come from buds located in the leaf axils. Keep the plant in a sunny window at a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees F. and water as described above. Fertilize as needed every two weeks.
3)  Repot into a larger pot if the plant is too large for the old one. Use any of the common peat moss and vermiculite/perlite potting soils sold at garden centers.

For more information about poinsettias, or to contact a UC Master Gardener with questions about your garden, call (707) 263-6838, or visit your local UC Cooperative Extension office at 883 Lakeport Blvd; Lakeport, CA 95453; celake@ucdavis.edu.