How To Multiply & Extend Your Poinsettia
Thousands of homemakers received poinsettias this Christmas. These colorful plants, so fitting in holiday home decorations, sometimes become a problem after Christmas when blooming ends and many times they are thrown out.
If you love filling your home with them during the holiday season, here’s how you can get another blooming season from them. It’s not a particularly long-lived houseplant but you can perpetuate it by harvesting cuttings.
- After it flowers, the plant should be rested. Take it to a cool dark corner of the basement and keep it almost dry, although not so dry the wood shrivels.
- Near the end of April it should be brought back into light and warmth, cut back to half its height, and watered generously. It will soon begin to grow again.
- When nights have become warm (no cooler than 58°) it may be set pot and all in the ground outdoors. It should have full sun and should be watered regularly.
- Liquid fertilizer may be used occasionally. The poinsettia must be cut back before it begins to grow in the Spring–if not, it will become tall and stringy, and unproductive of bloom.
- After a summer’s growth it is too late to cut it back.
- As nights get cooler in later summer or fall, it should be brought indoors and put where the air is moderately warm and humid, where it gets full sun, and where sudden drafts of cool air will not hit it.
How To Harvest Cuttings
- The time to take cuttings is soon after the new growth starts, in June or July.
- Cut a six-inch slip at a node or with a small heel of old wood from the parent stem.
- Trim off all but two top leaves, and stick the cutting into fine moist sand.
- Roots should form in about a month, and the cutting may then be transferred to soil in a small pot.
- Increase the pot size gradually as it grows.
- Use a soil mixture of two parts loam to one part sand and one part rotted manure.
- The plant may not bloom if it is where artificial lighting prolongs its day–they like short days for their flowering period. Protect it from all forms of light after regular daylight hours.
- Water it regularly but do not waterlog.
- Yellow or dropping leaves may be caused by too much water, or by chilling.
Source: Adapted from The WorkBasket (1953)