Congratulations on keeping your poinsettia alive. Good luck. There are a few poinsettia varieties that have variegated leaves, or leaves that continue to change color throughout the blooming period. In order to produce vibrantly colored bracts (or leaves) after a dormant period, your poinsettia will need to spend 12-14 hours a night in total darkness between September and November. Poinsettias are intolerant of the cold, so if the temperature is too low, it may begin to lose leaves. Plants eventually become “pot bound” or “root bound” when confined to the same container as the plant grows. If the exposure was short term the damage may be minimal. Just let mother nature handle it as the days get shorter it automatically triggers blooming as long as you do not have strong artificial light on at night. If you want your poinsettia to turn red again, you have to force it. I will be using the 14/10 theory that you posted. I think SF’s micro climates has a huge impact on plants. I’ve had my poinsettia scene last December they where at my church and the pastor have me one it was dying but i nursed back to health it is growing good it’s all green the stems are red but the main branches are not and it’s growing tremendously but no red leaves what am i doing wrong plus i have seen little silver bus in the soil but they don’t seem to bother the plant our eat the leaves. I never trimed it and I didn’t know you could plant it out side. We are enjoying them and I have been posting pictures on Instagram and on facebook for my friends and family. I have been calling my poinsettias “freaky-deaky” this year. Put in dark closet, inside bathroom w no windows etc. It is dark here at night, no street lights as in country. They are both now 3-4′ high. I water them only when quite dry. But, I can have a red plant for Valentine’s day! Mary Ellen Fattori I live in Kansas City. Thank you for the advice!! Water when the plant becomes dry. Good luck. Since you said it’s about 10″ below without leaves, I would suggest leaving about a dozen nicely shaped branches or more with approximately the same length removing every little ones that comes out. JOE, I remember doing experiments with plant leaves along these lines in school – not sure if it would work in this case though. EXPERTS. Oh, I live in Virginia and my favorite plant lives outside ’til frost comes. No direct sunlight. There is some light down there. As for turning new leaves red again, following the guide in the article should do the trick. I have it on my computer desk under fluorescent lights. . The only other thing I can suggest, and you’re likely already doing this, is to make sure they are getting plenty of darkness through the night time. yes Betty. I water it every 4-6 days. It will make such a great comparison and learning opportunity. Hi Also, you’ll need to keep it watered as indoor environments can be very dry. Keeping an office plant at the office over the weekend in hopes of it turning red again can be a challenge. I was afraid it would died! None of the leaves are turning red but, I do have new growth. Can I keep it there till it turns red? Should I prune it, repot it, spray it with something to get rid of the white stuff? Honestly Gravy, your plants are doing what they’re supposed to do. While an overhead florescent light should work, a sunny, south-facing widow would be ideal if you plan to have it live indoors all year. The plant liked it, though. At what point do we stop providing 14 hours of total darkness? After New Year, I put them in a big bay window to die, as I am not good with plants, nor did I care to have such a responsibility. I don’t want to kill it, as it was given to me by a friend who died shortly after and it has sentimental value to it. Losing leaves could be because of too much water or not enough. Good luck. Since our winter is so cold this year, I just relocated them temporarily, away from the window, as their leaves were curling a bit. The leaves turning red has everything to do with providing the right about of light and darkness as referenced in my article and the various comments and replies in this post. Some of the new leaves are turning red (only half of the leaf), some times it seems the leaves are very light green so if we keep it in the box for a day they get a very nice dark green . Mine is by patio door probably to much light. Hi Brian. It was introduced to the United States in 1828 and got its name from Joel Roberts Poinsett. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. I have tried to force poinsettias red, in the past. I’m going on holiday for just a week but am not sure if my poinsettia plant is going to be ok whilst I’m away? I can’t wait to see how they make the transition inside. I have not been watering them until i felt that the soil was dry. If the branches are broken, then I would simply focus on keeping it alive and not putting it in the closet at night to force red leaves. I have never been able to get a poinsettia to live past Jan-Feb until last year. Click on links below to jump to that question. I’m sure your poinsettia would prefer that anyway! The red leaves attract pollinators to the tiny, yellow flowers. It’s now about 2 ft tall and 3 ft across with a dense crown of leaves. Poinsettia life cycle may seem a bit complicated, but this short-day plant must satisfy certain growing requirements in order to bloom. To reiterate, I have not been putting the plant in the closet or anything for 6-7 weeks, and now some leaves are changing. I live in eastern Tennessee. Thanks for your help. It has become very leggy and woody, with leaves only at the top. That’s why your leaves are dropping off now. Red bracts are most common, but there are cultivars that are pink, salmon orange, yellow, cream, white, mottled, all with bright green leaves in the background. That would seal off all potential light. I have a white poinsettia and a red poinsettia and I’m wondering since the leaves are now beginning to fall off and I have had them since Christmas what do I do to keep them fresh do I plant them in a warm sunny place or do I put them in a bag and keep it in total darkness until next October. It’s cute, though! Thought I’d killed it but eventually it started sprouting again. if i begin the dark cycles in october, would they still turn red by winter? Poinsettia plants can be kept outdoors in a protected sunny area during summer, if desired. Hi, I have a three year old poinsettia that has never been trimmed, puned, or pinched. Sorry to hear that Betty. But you could safely cut it back about 1/3 or 1/2 after the risk of frost is gone this spring when you move it outside during the warm months. I think that the plant may be getting less water (my wife has watered it perhaps weekly since I gave up on it in frustration) but anyway, something other than the darkness is making the difference. IAM A NEW YORKER HERE AND I GOT A POINSETTA FROM A CLIENT AND ITS SITTING IN MY WINDOW AT WORK AND GOING STRONG SINCE CHRISTMAS OF 2015. I truly love this plant, every day in the light and seeing the red, brings a new view. Also, once they’re fully red, can you break the cycle? During this time you should remove any little branches that grow around them. But if this is your only option you should def. Or should I continue covering them for 3 more weeks? Any advice? That’s your biggest risk of leaving them outdoors at night. Thank you, I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. Although everything I’ve ready mentions “total darkness” moonlight has never come up. Days are getting longer and you can’t give it the environment it needs to change outside. Here is a link about turning your poinsettias red again. Celebrate your success or good fortune, and know that many people reading this will be jealous! I WANTED TO KNOW SINCE I CANT MOVE IT SOMEWHERE FOR TOTAL DARKNESS.IS PUTTING A BOX OVER IT CAN THAT HELP ME OUT HERE WITH SOME HOLES MABYE. You can keep it as a houseplant if you provide it sufficient light. If you are turning the plant earlier, just remember that you need a few months to turn it red. I’m impressed they did so well. It owes this to its colored bracts that surround the flowers. I have my plant in a big pot also, so I got a cardboard box 16’x16″ square and about 24″ deep and turned it upside down as a “dome” over the plant. But here’s plenty of notice for next year. If so, even with ample water, they won’t be able to take up water. it would be super cool if this worked but you may need to be the one to try and let us know. In about eight weeks, the bracts should all be red, if you’ve followed the above guidelines. Hmmm, the black garbage back worries me. I’d say enjoy it as is and tackle this project with a smaller plant in October. (early, not sure when you started the dark light program?) If you poinsettia can’t be attended daily Hi Karen. I can’t say for sure but I have my doubts that florescent lights are bright enough to fully replace the sunlight. Now, the other two are turning red. I could take it home of course. The plants need 14 hours of darkness per 24 hour day. It would be a valuable lesson for us all. Make sure that they are receiving sufficient amounts of light, water, and fertilizer to combat this shortage. You may also want to assess where you plant is located. But sometimes they don’t, so that’s where the intervention comes in by trying to simulate ideal conditions. My plant started showing red veins after 3 days utilizing this process so I know it works. Flower formation is actually triggered by periods of darkness. Many people wonder what makes poinsettias turn red. All the branches died However, cold drafts, allowing the leaves to touch a cold window, or more importantly, lack of decent light, can injure the leaves and cause premature leaf drop. Bumping up the container size slightly and loosening the roots when you do, will keep your plant healthier and fresh. Good luck. It could be a number of things. I commend folks who place a box over their poinsettias every night to force the leaves to turn red. This has being going on for at least 4 weeks or more. 1) My poinsettia leaves are a half of original one( I replanted the one I bought last year). Top Questions About Poinsettia Plants. I put my poinsettias outdoors, in the Spring, when the night temps are 59 degrees or warmer. Protect the poinsettia from drafts, keeping it in a room with temperatures between 60-70F. Bring it out again in the morning.