Flower power: reblooming holiday houseplants

July 27, 2015

When you receive a special flowering plant as a gift, it can be heartbreaking to have to toss it after the holidays, but it doesn't have to end that way. With a little effort, you can keep these plants from year to year, and get them to rebloom.

Flower power: reblooming holiday houseplants


  • After blooming, set the plant in a sunny spot and water as usual, letting it die back naturally, as you would for any bulb.
  • This will occur sometime between late spring and early summer. Remove the withered foliage.
  • Put the plant in a cool (about 13°C or 55°F), dark place like a closet or garage and do not water it. In August, bring the plant out into the light and warmth.
  • Water and fertilize it, and flowers should appear in time for the holidays.


  • As the length of the day increases in spring, poinsettias will stop blooming, but their foliage will remain fairly attractive.
  • They can be placed outside in the warm months, but be sure to do a hard pruning in midsummer (cut stems back to five centimetres or two inches above the soil).
  • During September and October, put the plants on a strict light schedule: 14 hours of total darkness at night, 10 hours of bright light during the day.
  • Any light at all during the dark period can disturb the cycle, which is why some people place the plants under garbage cans or in a closet at night.
  • Once the flower heads have formed, you can bring the plants back into normal conditions.

Booster for early spring flowers

  • Get a jump on spring by forcing branches of flowering shrubs and trees to bloom early indoors.
  • In late winter, watch for flower buds to swell on forsythia and on quince, ornamental cherry and dogwood trees. Prune enough branches to fill a tall vase.

What you need

  • A 10 L (10 qt) bucket
  • 5.5 L (5 qt) warm water (43ºC to 46ºC/110ºF to 115ºF)
  • 1 cotton ball
  • Sudsy ammonia
  • 1 plastic garbage bag

What to do

1. Cut stems, crush the cut ends with a hammer and place them in the bucket of warm water.

2. Saturate a cotton ball in sudsy ammonia and drop it into the bucket.

3. Set the bucket of stems in a clean garbage bag, tie it closed and set it in a warm place indoors until the buds begin to open. Then arrange the stems in a vase of clean water and set out in a room for a long-lasting bouquet.

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