EDP Norfolk - - GARDENS -

Keep plants pro­tected from draughts and strong sun­light, so avoid win­dow-sills. Poin­set­tias like it warmer (but not hot) dur­ing the day and cooler at night.

Keep hu­mid­ity down - be­tween 50% and 80%, oth­er­wise they be­come more sus­cep­ti­ble to dis­ease.

Don’t over-wa­ter. Check your plant reg­u­larly - to start with, take it out of the pot to mon­i­tor mois­ture con­tent. Af­ter a while you will know by the weight. Keep the top cen­time­tre or so dry to avoid any dis­ease, and keep the rest moist to the touch but not soggy. The plant will drop its leaves if it is too dry or too wet!

Feed reg­u­larly with an all-round fer­tiliser. Pot the poin­set­tia af­ter Christ­mas to al­low it to re-bloom next year.

Con­tinue wa­ter­ing and feed­ing un­til the end of March, then re­duce this grad­u­ally so that the plant can go dor­mant. Place in a cool en­vi­ron­ment.

Cut the plant back to about 8-10cm af­ter a few weeks. Re­pot into a larger con­tainer, us­ing a com­post mix of three parts John Innes No 3 mix to one part grit.

Put it out­side, some­where light but cool, once the risk of tem­per­a­tures lower than 13C has past.

Wa­ter and feed reg­u­larly from here on. In­crease wa­ter­ing and move the plant into a warmer spot (18-20 de­grees C) in early sum­mer (mid-end May).

In au­tumn, the plant needs dark nights to al­low it to colour up and flower, so from mid-au­tumn place in a dark room be­tween 5pm and 8am, pro­tect­ing it from ar­ti­fi­cial light sources.

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