KC Gardens

Should I cut back my poinsettia before planting it outside?

QUESTION:

I have a lovely pointsettia which I cut back last year and planted. It flourished over the summer and early fall, and then I brought it in; I was not successful in keeping it in the dark as recommended, as I tended to forget it too long and it lost some leaves; however, before I brought it in it had already started to turn red; (we had a long fall). Now it is doing great and growing well-- new bracts and buds-- although a little leggy due to the lost leaves earlier. My question: Should I cut it back again before I plant it again? - Margaret

ANSWER:

Margaret, you can cut the poinsettia back to 6 inches above the soil level; this will correct any “legginess”. Since you were able to keep the plant outside for a long period last fall, mother nature nicely provided the light/dark hours the poinsettia needs to set blooms. Just for future reference here is the link to the KSU bulletin on Poinsettia Care: http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu//pubs/mf521.pdf . It sounds like your plant has found a good home. Carole - Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

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