ON Tuesday this week it was National Poinsetta Day! And whether you love or hate them, you know it's a sign that Christmas has truly come.
All too often they’re thrown away along with your Christmas tree, but with care you can actually keep them going into next year.
Poinsettas tend to be so cheap, to attempt to keep it until next Christmas very much falls into the 'can you be bothered/up for the challenge' category.
But if you're game, and you've got space to hide it away,it's a great experiment to try.
First of all, choose wisely – they don’t like cold – so if they’re outside a shop or being sold near a draughty door then chances are they will start to wilt and die – and the worst thing is that there's nothing you can do.
In all seriousness, protect it on the way home and once inside, keep it cosy at temperatures between 13°C to 15°C, avoiding bright lights and drafts.
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Water sparingly when the top of the compost feels dry, and mist regularly to extend flowering time.
And now for the science bit…
If you want to keep it – give it tomato feed once a month.
Prune it back hard in April, to about 10cm, and keep it around 13oc.
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Repot into a larger container in May, using John Innes No 3 mixed with a handful of grit, and keep in a cool spot.
To get it blooming again for Christmas – from mid-September it needs complete darkness for 12 hours a day and about 18° to develop their blooms.
Best of luck!
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