Whether you’re a novice or seasoned gardener, the sense of accomplishment when reblooming a poinsettia or Christmas cactus is something the cost of a new plant can’t replace.
These plants need 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night to set flowers for Christmas. Starting around Oct. 1 cover or move your plants into a dark location each night. Just keep in mind that even an outdoor, street or reading light can delay or prevent flowering.
Uncover or move your plants back to their sunny window each morning. Growing the plants in a cooler location, especially at night, and keeping the soil slightly dry will help stimulate bloom.
Continue the dark treatments until the poinsettia bracts, what we call flowers, are fully colored or your Christmas cactus is covered with well developed buds. Start keeping the soil slightly moist and move the plants to a cool bright location for everyone to enjoy.
A bit more information: Consistency is important to get blooms by Christmas. Each missed or interrupted 14-hour night delays blooming by one day. But don’t give up after a couple of interrupted nights. Just enjoy the event when your poinsettia does bloom. Maybe you’ll start a trend, poinsettias for Valentine’s day. And as for Christmas cactus, many believe it is the cooler temperatures and drier soil that initiates bloom.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.