The lovely poinsettia is a symbol of holiday cheer and a Mexican native. These brilliantly colored plants appear to be full of flowers but they are actually modified leaves called bracts. All manner of things can happen to an innocent plant in the average home. Rambunctious children, moved furniture, a cat knocking the plant onto the floor, and other situations can cause broken poinsettia stems. What to do for damaged poinsettias? You have a few choices on poinsettia stem breakage — fix it, compost it or root it.
What to Do for Damaged Poinsettias
Some poinsettia stem breakage can be temporarily mended. You can also use a rooting hormone and try your hand at propagation. Finally, you can increase your compost pile and recycle the stem into nutrients for your garden.
Which one you choose depends on the location and severity of the break. Tip cuttings are best for propagation but the piece of plant material needs to be fresh for rooting broken poinsettia stems.
Fixing Broken Poinsettia Stems
If you find a branch on poinsettia broke for some reason, you can temporarily mend it if the stem has not been completely severed from the plant, but eventually the plant material will die. You can get a good seven to 10 days more from the stem and keep the appearance of a nice full plant during that time.
Use plant tape to reattach the broken bit to the main body of the plant. Hold it in place with a slender stake or pencil and wrap the plant tape around the stake and the stem.
You can also just remove the stem, hold the cut end over the flame of a pillar candle and sear the end. That will keep the sap inside the stem and allow it to persist for several days as part of a flower arrangement.
Rooting Broken Poinsettia Stems
A rooting hormone can be valuable in this endeavor. Rooting hormones encourage root cells to reproduce, growing healthy roots in less time than they would do without the hormone. Hormones always influence change and processes in the human and plant cell.
Take the broken stem and cut the end off so it is fresh and sap bleeds from the severed location. Where an entire branch on poinsettia broke, cut off the slender tip about 3 to 4 inches from the end. Use this piece and dip it into rooting hormone. Shake off any excess and insert it into a soilless planting medium, such as peat or sand.
Put the cutting in a light area and cover the pot with a plastic bag to keep moisture in. Rooting can take several weeks, during which time you will need to keep the medium lightly moist. Remove the bag for one hour daily so the stem doesn’t stay too wet and rot. Once the cutting has rooted, transplant it into regular potting soil and grow on as you would any poinsettia.