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DIY: Trying to Turn My Poinsettia Red

In December last year came home to find a poinsettia waiting for me on the countertop. This was not my first. I was and still am determined to keep it alive, help it flower, and turn red. I am sure many die or get thrown out. I realized the mistakes with the first ones. Not enough light plus overwatering. Plus, I kept them in a poorly lit window. Also, they were in too small of a pot with no room for growth even if they wanted to. One by one their leaves fell off until they were no more. This one I kept in the window downstairs near the grow lights. A few weeks after I got it I repotted it in a concrete pot. I was constantly turning it to keep its leaves off the windows as it tended to lean after some time. I might have to extend the window sill eventually since all of my plants are not getting any smaller. When I say I, I might be eyeing my husband for help. <3

Some of the red leaves fell off but not too many. Overall it was way healthier than my previous ones.

Red Poinsettia
Repotted Poinsettia Jan 2020

In April it started to put out new leaves. I put it outside permanently in May when it was warm enough for me. Not the most scientific way to gauge temp and a plant's needs but I require about the same amount of light and heat any tropical or warmer weather plants need. So...close enough?

I see a lot of people prune it down almost all the way and then let it grow back but I was curious about how it would do if I just let it be. The red leaves did not enjoy the switch outside and a few faded/withered and fell off eventually. Still unsure if this is normal/expected or I could have done a better job of easing it outdoors.

Eventually, I started to see new leaves and the warmer the weather got the faster it grew.

As time went on, all the red leaves fell off and a bunch of new green ones came about. Now, this plant will tell you when it is thirsty and/or hungry for plant food. Very dramatically it will droop and turn pale. Many times I thought: Oh, it's a goner only to have it perk right back up about 30 mins after watering. It is now mid/late October and I have decided to bring it back in. The same gauge was used: myself. I don't want to be out there all day and night right now either. It has some yellowing or pale leaves. Maybe a bit of plant food would have helped or if I brought it in sooner but all in all I think I got a healthy plant that is happy to be indoors. I might have started too late. We shall see.

I have been reading how to turn the leaves red. There are variations so I am just going for the 12 hours of complete darkness in the closet followed by bright light and see what happens. I'm putting it away at 6pm and taking it out at 6am. It works with my schedule so I won't forget it, maybe. Note: The red leaves often get mistaken for being the flower. The flowers are actually tinnie tiny yellow blooms.


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