How to take cuttings from poinsettias
How to take cuttings from poinsettias
As gorgeous as poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima, bracts are (a bract is the botanical name for a modified leaf, which in the case of the poinsettia is larger and more brightly coloured than the true flower) they are only short lived, providing seasonal effect. As soon as the true flowers found within the rosette of bracts have finished blooming it will drop the bracts. Why? Because once flowered the plant will no longer need its bright red brats to attract pollinating insects.

As soon as the flowers have finished you can cut back the poinsettia stems to within 15 cm of the base. New shoots will arise and then from April to May they will be ready for being used as propagation material.

Using a sharp sterilized blade, take cuttings approximately 10 cm long. Avoid choosing weak stems and any that appear to have signs of disease. Like many other species within the Euphorbia family the cut stems will 'bleed' latex, so make sure you wear gloves as the milky sap can be an irritant. To check this flow, dip the cut stem into powdered charcoal. Remove the bottom half leaves

Using 7-9cm pots filled with a good quality peat-based seed and cutting compost, insert one cutting per pot. Press the cutting in until the bottom third is buried, then gently press the compost against the stem for additional support.You can always consider making your own compost using equal parts by volume fine-blended moss peat and horticultural grade grit-sand. Sterile rooting conditions are important so you will need to oven bake your mix prior to its use.

Gently water in the cuttings using a watering can fitted with a fine rose, then place the pots inside a heated propagator. Set the basal heat at a temperature at between 16-18 degrees Celsius. Mist the cuttings on a daily basis to prevent desiccation. Allow the top few cm of compost to dry out before watering and never allow the compost to become waterlogged. You can expect the cuttings to have taken root after 2-4 weeks.

Pot the rooted cuttings on as necessary and begin feeding with a liquid soluble fertilizer once they are in their final pots.

For related articles click onto the following links:
How to Care for Poinsettias

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