How to Get Poinsettias Red Again

 Poinsettia color comes from leaves changing by light deprivation. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Poinsettia color comes from leaves changing by light deprivation. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

How to Get Poinsettias Red Again

Poinsettias are starting to pop up where I live, a sure sign of the holidays and as traditional to have around as Santa Claus. The poinsettia colors are from their leaves changing from green to red, for example, after the plant was deprived of light.

The poinsettia flowers are actually the tiny yellow pollen-covered centers.

 Poinsettia flowers are the tiny centers where pollen can be found. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Poinsettia flowers are the tiny centers where pollen can be found. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

There are a number of guides on how to get a poinsettia to turn colors again and I can attest that it is very simple.

This is a gift poinsettia from last year. It spent summer outside in a shady corner of my garden, then came in around September.

 A one-year poinsettia after spending summer outside. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A one-year poinsettia after spending summer outside. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I have to confess, I wondered how much this plant would grow outside this summer. When I lived in Mexico City in the 1950s, I remember poinsettias the size of trees in our backyard. I half-mused what I would do if this gift poinsettia had a growth spurt.

The plant was placed in a window in room that doesn’t get evening light. I tried to remember to regularly water it but I missed it a few times because it’s not a room I have been in much recently. The neglect didn’t seem to hurt the plant.

See now what I see?

Second year poinsettia color.jpg

The leaves are starting to show signs of turning red, a sure sign that it has been deprived of light for the requisite 6-8 weeks that triggers the leaves to turn red.

I’m now hooked and regularly visit the plant during daylight to watch the transformation.

 Interesting to watch the leaves turning color. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Interesting to watch the leaves turning color. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Looking forward to adding this plant to my holiday decorations, so glad it will be around a second year!

Charlotte