Nine Steps To Get Your Poinsettia To Bloom Again

Getting poinsettia to bloom again is not complicated but it does demand specific cultural controls.

We’ll assume you’ve grown your poinsettia since last Christmas and you’ve fed it properly with lots of light — it has grown into a small shrub and you want to get it to bloom again. Here’s what you need to know.

Here’s the specific week by week recipe to get poinsettia to rebloom

Short Day Plants

Poinsettia are referred to as “short day plants” and they require a night time (lack of sunlight) of 11 hours and 45 minutes to initiate flowering. So as our summer days shorten towards fall, the increasing length of night triggers flower formation.

  • This assumes a temperature of 65F. If the temperatures are lower (say 62F) then the time of sunlight deprivation will be longer — in this example 13 hours of night.
  • Cooler temperatures will require longer nights.

And temperatures above 70F will create a similar situation — too high a temperature requires longer night hours.

Twelve Hours Is Another Key Component

Generally, in the home environment you need night darkness of 12 hours for good and fast flower formation.

And you require this night darkness for approximately 6 weeks starting in mid-September. After this, you only require regular day length (whatever that is in your location)

No Light At All

If you put lights onto the poinsettia leaves (even for a few seconds during this 6 week period) at night -photosynthesis will start and the plant will “wake up” and the dark requirements will not be met.
Research shows that light as low as 1–2 foot candles will trigger growth. There is some data indicating a few seconds of light will put the plant back a hour or more.

(As a sidenote -this is why some greenhouses in urban areas can no longer grow poinsettia. Traffic moving past the greenhouses at night throw headlight beams onto the plants and wake them up and street lights can be a major problem if they don’t use artificial shading on the plants.

Full Sunshine

Getting a poinsettia to bloom again requires full, bright sunshine. Anything less will reduce flowering. In the home, this translates to a full south window (squeaky clean) or supplemental grow-lighting. Low light levels will also produce small bracts.

Soil should be a high quality soilless mix. No garden soil as the soil has to be well-drained.
House temperatures should be in the 65–70F range during the night and 80F during the day for best flowering.

Mat It

You might want to sit the pot on a propagation mat for the day to heat up the roots if you can’t heat up the entire room.

Lower temperatures during the daytime will either retard flowering or eliminate it.

Feeding Your Poinsettia

Commercial growers feed with every watering in dilute concentrations but home gardeners can get their poinsettia to bloom again by feeding a balanced houseplant food once a week at full strength. Failure to feed will produce tiny bracts.

Pruning The Poinsettia

Getting a poinsettia to bloom again means proper pruning. In mid-to late summer, cut off the growing tips to force the plant to throw new shoots.


Maintain a high humidity for the plant if possible. Keep feeding.

The plant should throw shoots and by the third week of September, those shoots should be one-inch long.

Keep feeding and watch for insects. It is at this point that whiteflies attack poinsettia and you can control them with soap only until the color starts to show on the bracts.

If you spray soap on coloured poinsettia leaves, they do not respond well (burning).

Other common pests include mealybugs and thrips.

If you maintain the temperature, full light environment, watering and feeding, you should see colour by the middle of November. Any deviation from the guidelines above and flowering will be delayed.

The how-to/ weekly schedule for when to prune, start shading(in a closet) feeding etc is detailed in my ebook below

Click here for the specific details so you can grow your own poinsettia plants

Your Houseplants Will Thrive If You Do This

Looking out my office window as I write, I can see white.  That’s about all because the snow is falling quite quickly and blocking out my normal view.  Not that I’m grumpy about this or anything because last week I was in Baltimore for the largest nursery trade show in the eastern U.S. and got my fill of plants and garden stuff.

I did, however, come home to some unhappy houseplants.  It seems I might have forgotten to water them as much as I normally do before taking a trip and they were a tad disappointed with their water levels.

Use Your Finger

Let me remind us both that watering houseplants at this time of year is a simple chore if you have a spare finger to do the water finger-test.  Put your finger on the soil and if it comes away damp at all, then the plant has enough water.  If your finger is bone dry when it comes back from visiting the pot, then water the pot.

I water all my houseplants thoroughly every time I apply water.  This means that the water has to run out the bottom of the pot before I stop watering.  This ensures that my houseplants go at least a week between waterings as the entire soil mass is thoroughly wet.

If the water sits in the saucer for longer than an hour, I remove it by dumping it down the sink as I don’t want my pots sitting in water and catching some root rot fungus.

African Violets

My African violets get watered by filling the saucer and allowing the pot to suck up the water by capillary action.  Yes, I have been growing African violets for the first time in my life and my grandmother with her kitchen full would have been proud of me.  Mind you, they’re a tad unhappy this morning but I’ve been watering and I expect they’ll jump right back with their blooms and growth.

Sitting in their east-facing window where they get a great deal of morning light, the bloom production has been prolific this fall.  All this because I began watering from below, giving them regular feedings and enough light.


I wish my amaryllis would have been so happy.  The blooms have started fading and no amount of water is going to bring them back into bloom.  I’ve cut the individual blooms off as they start to fade and will cut the stem at the base when the last bloom dies.  This will force the bulb to throw strap-like leaves and start developing next year’s flower buds.

Keep feeding and watering the bulbs for the rest of the winter (use one half strength liquid plant food) and grow them in the full sun.
Next summer, they can go out on the patio to summer outdoors.

In August, stop watering and allow the plant to go dormant.  Give it several months of sleeping time and then bring it up into the light again to produce new blooms.

Remember though that if you don’t feed it, it will not produce new flowers for next year.

Insecticidal Soap

Remember to get the insecticidal soap out and use it regularly on your houseplants at this time of year.  Those pests that hitched a ride indoors last fall will soon be emerging to increase their numbers and ravage your plants.  A spray every seven to ten days should keep their populations under control.  If you do get an infestation, decrease the time between sprays to every three to five days until the pests are all dead.  A single spray will not kill all pests with these organic sprays.  You do have to repeat them regularly.

Feed Your Houseplants Using This Schedule

And last but not least, now that we’re in early spring and the light levels are starting to increase again, it is time to begin a fertilizer programme for your houseplants and overwintering annuals.

Half strength feeding for the next few weeks is a good idea and then gradually increase the amount until by the middle of March you are feeding at full strength once a week.

You can read other specialty plant tips and seasonal plants here

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