Morning Sun

Going to the dark side


The Penn State botany department says that poinsettia­s are short-day plants (a photoperio­dic plant), meaning that waning daylight triggers the flowers. Despite the term “short-day,” research has shown that it is really the length of night, or darkness, that is important in the blooming cycle. In order to flower for the winter holiday season, a poinsettia needs 12-14 hours of darkness each day, beginning around Oct. 1. Even a short light interrupti­on during the dark period can reset the clock and prevent the plant from blooming.

Poinsettia care tips

Do place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day.

Do provide room temperatur­es of at least 68-70 degrees.

Do water your plants thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Do use a large roomy shopping bag to protect your plants when transporti­ng them.

Do fertilize your plants after the blooming season with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

Don’t place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat.

Don’t expose your plants to temperatur­es below 50 degrees. Don’t allow plants to sit in standing water.

Don’t expose your plants to chilling winds when transporti­ng.

Don’t fertilize your plants when they are in bloom.

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