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What Are the Best Tips for Planting Poinsettias?

Poinsettias should be planted in early spring.
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  • Written By: Emily Pate
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 02 July 2014
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The best tips for planting poinsettias include careful considerations in each step of the process, starting with planting in the proper climate. Special care should be taken to select a sunny site with wind protection, well-drained soil, and partial shade. Careful planting is best followed up with immediate mulching, watering, and pruning for quicker establishment, and optional fertilizing can also aid growth.

Poinsettias usually thrive only in climates with light to no frosts — typically zones 9 to 11 on the USDA hardiness map. If your climate falls within these parameters, you may be able to plant container poinsettias successfully. Early spring is typically the best time for planting poinsettias, after the danger of frost has passed. The warmer soil will spur establishment and new growth at that time.

Your plants can be stored in a garage or on a patio. These areas offer cool, but not freezing temperatures, depending what your climate is like. Cutting back branches and limiting watering ensure that the plant survives until planting time.

Proper site selection is essential for planting poinsettias successfully. Scan your yard or garden for a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of direct light per day. Spots with southern exposure do well, and an area with wind protection is also desirable, as is partial shade because this plant thrives in moist, cool soil.

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Well-drained soil is essential for planting poinsettias, preferably a spot that is even or higher than the surrounding ground. There is a way to test how well the soil drains before beginning to plant. This can be accomplished by creating a small hole in the ground and then filling it with water. Six hours later, if the water has drained, then it is considered to be adequate. Poinsettias do well with a pH level between 5 and 7, so amendments may be necessary to more alkaline soils.

A hole twice the size of the poinsettia's root ball should be dug. The plant should be removed from the container, its roots carefully loosened and spread slightly before setting it into the ground. The hole should be filled with soil up to the same point it was in the container. Add a layer of mulch after planting poinsettias to keep the soil cool and moist.

Pruning is generally required after planting poinsettias to spur growth and to train plants to have an appealing shape. The main branches should only have about 4 to 6 inches (about 10 to 15 cm) visible above the soil line. Growers disagree on fertilizing, but, if chosen, feeding should take place no more than twice a month, and manufacturer instructions should be followed for best results.

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