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Thow Away? No Way! Bright, Colorful Poinsettias Can Beautify Households During and After Holidays

Dec. 16, 2013

Elm Grove, Wis. – Planning to discard your poinsettias after the holidays? Think again. The bright, colorful flower can continue to thrive long after Christmas is past, and even be conditioned to bloom again for Christmas 2014.

“It’s a shame that most people throw away poinsettias when the holidays are over. These beautiful, adaptable plants have a lot of life left,” said Denise Barnett, co-owner of Snapdragon Flowers of Elm Grove. “At the very least, a poinsettia’s vibrant colors can be enjoyed into February if the plant is cared for.”

With some love, diligence and darkness, she added, a poinsettia can burst into bloom again next Christmas season. Given how a poinsettia grows and spreads, the flowers might be even bigger and brighter.

Buying a healthy poinsettia is the first step. Plants with dried-up leaves should be avoided. The poinsettia’s flower petals – the yellow, red and orange spires inside the red leaves – should be bright and firm. If powdery or dry, the plant is past its prime, Barnett explained.

Poinsettias thrive in sunlight, but not direct light. They are sensitive to cold and overwatering. If a poinsettia pot is wrapped in decorative foil, the covering should be removed to drain water, Barnett said. Maintaining moist soil is ideal; excess water harms the plant. Speaking of which, poinsettias are not dangerous, either.

“Contrary to a long-held myth, poinsettias are not poisonous,” Barnett said. “Your dog or cat might get sick from eating them, as with any plant. They won’t die, though.”

Encouraging a poinsettia to bloom again isn’t hard. The bright red leaves, called bracts, will drop off by February’s end. The plant’s green leaves will keep growing. New leaves will appear.

Starting in very early October, the plant should be kept in a totally dark space (ideally a closet) for 12 hours per day. Complete darkness is crucial, Barnett said. Even night light from street lamps can hinder the process.

The bracts, or red leaves, will begin to reappear. The darkness treatment can be ended. The poinsettia is on its way to becoming a bright beacon of joy and color for the holidays – ready to be enjoyed all over again.

Located at 13458 Watertown Plank Road, in the heart of downtown Elm Grove, Snapdragon Flowers provides fresh, beautiful flowers and plants for people, events and occasions throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Its unique, innovative arrangements and designs are destined to bring smiles when desired, and comfort when needed. More information is available by calling (262) 782-8380 or visiting

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