Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima hybrids) are used for indoor décor during the Christmas and festive season.  After spending a number of weeks indoors, the colourful bracts come to the end of their functional period and the plants need to be removed. Many are simply thrown away or added to the compost heap. However, with a little bit of care and attention, healthy plants can be slowly conditioned to a life outdoors in the garden where they will grow into a shrub of some stature.

Remove potted plants from within the home and clean them up by taking off dead leaves and cutting back the spent flower bracts. Water well and then place outdoors in a shaded position. Water sparingly after this and apply a water soluble fertiliser (Multisol 3:1:6 is ideal) every second watering. After 3 weeks in the shade, gradually move the plants into more and more sunshine each week until they are growing in full sun.  At this point they can be planted out into the garden or potted into larger pots.

They will then grow quickly into well shaped shrubs a metre or so high and equally as wide. Their natural blooming period is winter (short day length) when the plants will produce flowers with their lovely colourful bracts surrounding them. They will not flower during the festive season period unless their day length is artificially manipulated.  Remember that these plants are frost and cold sensitive.