How to Grow Poinsettias Year-Round

By: Julie Day

Once the holidays come to an end, many of us find ourselves with a lovely assortment of poinsettias that we guiltily throw in the trash during the great post-holiday cleanup.

This year, why not practice a little year-round cheer and keep your poinsettias as houseplants? They are beautiful, lush plants, and you’ve never received a holiday gift quite as special as coaxing a poinsettia into bloom.

Here’s what you need to know to grow and care for your holiday poinsettia throughout the year.

Poinsettia Facts

  • Poinsettias are named for Joel Robert Poinsett (1779-1851), a noted statesman and dedicated amateur botanist who first brought poinsettias to the United States from Mexico in 1825 while serving as ambassador.
  • Poinsettias are tropical plants. In the wild, they grow as perennials reaching almost 10 feet tall.
  • Contrary to popular myth, poinsettias aren’t poisonous. Like other plants in the Euphorbia family, they have a milky sap that can give you (or your pets) a stomach ache or irritate your skin when exposed to large quantities, but otherwise they’re nontoxic.
  • Poinsettias come in a wide range of colors, from red to yellow to multicolored.
  • The bright colors on poinsettias are actually leaf bracts, not flowers. The flowers are small and found in the yellow center of the stalk.


Look for bushy plants with fully opened bracts.

Buying Poinsettias

  • Choosing Plants: Look for bushy plants with lots of colorful bracts that are fully opened yet not covered with pollen (dropping pollen means it’s near the end of blooming). The ideal plant size is about 2½ times the diameter of the pot.
  • Keep Warm: Cover your new poinsettia when taking it to and from your car as they are very susceptible to cold.
  • Allow to Drain: Poinsettias don’t like to sit in water. If your plant has a foil gift wrapping, either remove it or poke holes to allow water to drain.

Growing Poinsettias

Remember that poinsettias are tropical plants that require maximum light, warmth, and humidity to survive. While blooming, your plant will do best under these conditions:

  • Light: Poinsettias need at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight a day. Choose the brightest window you can, but don’t allow the plant to touch cold glass.
  • Temperature: The ideal temperature for poinsettias is between 65°- 75° F. They are susceptible to leaf drop and will become scraggly looking if exposed to cold drafts or extreme temperature changes.
  • Watering: Thoroughly water the plant when the soil feels dry, then empty the drainage tray so your poinsettia doesn’t sit in water. Mist regularly, or add a pebble tray or humidifier to increase humidity.
  • Nutrients: Don’t feed your poinsettia while it’s blooming. Food comes later – see below for instructions.

Poinsettia Care Calendar

The challenge of growing poinsettias lies in getting them to bloom again. Follow this care schedule to encourage years of growth and flowering.

  • Winter: (January – March) Continue watering and enjoying your poinsettia in a sunny window for as long as it’s blooming.
  • Spring: (March – May) After the blooms fade, the plant enters a resting season until summer. Prune your plant back to 6”-8” tall. Reduce watering and allow the plant to get completely dry between waterings.
  • Summer: (May – September) Repot if needed in very light potting mix, moving to a slightly larger pot if it appears root-bound. When you see new growth, begin feeding every two weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer. Pinch back the stems as they grow, to encourage branching. You can put your poinsettia outdoors for the summer, but be sure to bring it back inside before temperatures drop into the 50s F.
  • Fall: (October) Poinsettias bloom in response to shorter days. For about 8-10 weeks prior to the desired bloom time, put your poinsettia in complete darkness for 12-15 hours per day. You can cover it with a thick cardboard box or black plastic bag, or move the plant to a closet, but it needs TOTAL darkness for at least 12 hours per day – even indoor lighting will disrupt the process. During the day, remove the covering and make sure the plant gets at least 6 hours of sunlight. Water and feed as usual.
  • Holiday Blooms: (November – December) After 8-10 weeks of darkness treatment, you should see flower buds on your poinsettia. Once you do, you can discontinue the darkness treatment and bring it back out to your window after Thanksgiving to enjoy. Continue watering, but stop feeding until spring.

Further Information

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34 Comments on “How to Grow Poinsettias Year-Round”

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  • Sandeep Says:
    March 6th, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I have poinsettia plant…and I live in india delhi…this time my plant not grow well.. give me some tips to grow well..



  • Richard Ballsmith Says:
    January 21st, 2016 at 12:11 am

    WANT CHRISTMAS PANTS TO HELP GROW AND WHEN READY PLANT THEM OUTSIDE



  • Rosemary Says:
    January 18th, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I live on the west coast of Florida. I have planted poinsettias in beds that are under the eaves of the house and they come back every year. A year ago, I rec’d a super large one and planted it in the yard. I did not think it would bloom again but it did. It is now 4ft tall with many blooms and still blooming..It is now 34degrees outside. I covered them and hope they will not freeze Thanks for your post



  • Linda Hoobler Says:
    January 12th, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    My grandson gave may a white poinsettia Christmas 2010. I have done nothing to it but water and trim off dead leaves or petals as they fall. Still in same pot. Think I should do something but afraid to as never have been even to keep expensive ones alive more than a few months.



  • Sandeep Says:
    January 4th, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I have some poinsettia seeds. I want sow these seeds but I don’t know which for sowing for poinsettia.. any one know please reply me… sandeep6247@gmail.com



  • Nancy Kellam Says:
    January 3rd, 2016 at 8:38 am

    How do you grow poinsettia outside in Southwest Florida?



  • sandra gillanders Says:
    December 31st, 2015 at 8:06 am

    You said to prune your poinsettia, so do I do this after all the leafs fall off or before? I bought a pointsettia and the leafs are falling off and I don’t know why. I thought the plant was nice and now it doesn’t look nice at all. Your site is also very helpful. Thank you and just waiting for a reply.



  • Ray Smith Says:
    December 26th, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Could you please advise if I can propagate Poinsettia plants from cuttings (and how best to propagate the plants). Location is Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
    Thanks for your assistance, Ray Smith.



  • Dan Day Says:
    December 22nd, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I’m just wondering, did the people who posted questions about this article actually read it? Most of them are asking things that would have been answered if they had.



  • Helen McKinney Says:
    December 20th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Hi,
    I live in San Antonio TX. I bought two poinsettia trees. I hope to plant them outside some day. Is the Poinsettia Care Calendar geared toward warm climate states?
    Thank you.



  • Jodi Says:
    December 16th, 2015 at 11:16 am

    A year ago I received a beautiful poinsettia. It was only about 4 inches tall. I live in Idaho and put this cute little plant in my East facing window. Around February all the blooms fell off as well as most of the leaves. Around April I noticed amongst the 3 green leaves were 3 red leaves. I was so happy. Here it is December and it’s in full bloom again. I never do anything special to it. I’m sure it’s natural lack of light and that I live in the country so no street light. I do have a question. There are lots of leaves at the top but not many at the base of the stems. How do I get it to be bushy?



  • Amreen Says:
    December 15th, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Hi
    Thank you for posting such an interesting article. I live in Bahrain and it’s winter now and I just bought these lovely plants. I would like to keep them indoors, will they grow well and how many plants can I put in?



  • Bonnie Hallman Says:
    December 9th, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I have three of them. Just got two the other day. Beautiful red flowers. But my boy I got last year, he is still growing. But I can’t seem to get him to flower out. I keep them with some sun and cool. I don’t want to lose him. He is good but just green. Can you help me? Thank you



  • Wanda Says:
    December 5th, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I planted 4 poinsettia plants 8 months ago. They’ve been doing great! Now that it’s December ( I live in Kauai where everything grows) 2 plants have lost a lot of leaves, but still look like they’re not dead. The other two are perfect. All planted in the same location. I’m going to leave them alone and see how they do in 6 months, but wonder if I should do something for them.
    Thanks and look forward to any feedback, Aloha!



  • Chris Furtado Says:
    November 16th, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Our poinsettia did survive all year, but I didn’t know about keeping it in the dark for 12 hours until just now. But it has a lot of green leaves, and some are just starting to turn red. What should I do now?



  • cheryl Lammers Says:
    November 13th, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    thank you,
    Cheryl Lammers



  • Brenda Reighard Says:
    October 29th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    My husband brought 4 of these beautiful red plants last xmas. I decided to put them in a pot together. Now they have grown tall and beautiful. But the red has turned to green. I live in Florida. Do I replant them again? They are 4 feet tall now.



  • Patty McCurdy Says:
    October 18th, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I bought a poinsettia tree three years ago and have enjoyed it very much. I live in central Florida. It dropped all its leaves and flowers this summer, but the stem is stil alive. Can I save it? I trim back the dead parts. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to save it. Thanks



  • calistra thomas Says:
    August 29th, 2015 at 5:59 am

    I kept my poinsettia well up to one week ago when it started wilting, though I’ve cared for it the same way as always. I read your article and I proceeded to trim and re-pot the plant, any further advice? would there be sufficient time for it to blossom for Christmas?



  • sharon selberg Says:
    May 30th, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I purchased 2 small (4″ pots) poinsettias around Thanksgiving. They lasted a long time. One dropped all of the red leaves several weeks after Christmas and i tossed it. It is now June first and the other one still has red leaves and seems to be very healthy. Why? How should i proceed to keep this miracle plant alive and in continued good health?



  • Yvonne Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 5:31 am

    Hi I am really chuffed that I still have my Poinsettia and it is March 14th, never kept one this long before. It has new growth already on one of the stems, I will try and follow your programme, and hope to keep for a while longer . Thanks for the advice.
    Yvonne



  • g barrett Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Hi, my poncetta leaves are turning red now in March is this normal? Thank you.



  • Wanda Says:
    March 9th, 2015 at 8:40 am

    This helps a TON!! I am so excited because I have had my plant from 2 years ago & 1 or 2 leaves have turned red. I now know the schedule to put them into darkness & for how long…THANK YOU!!



  • Jim LaBore - Says:
    January 17th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I was given four small poinettias with red leaves. I will transplant them into larger pots. Should I place them in single pots or should they be clumped together? I am in Metairie Louisiana and would like to place them outside, however, you suggest the plants shouldn’t be subjected to temps in the 50s. Therefore, should I not take them outside? Great site. This is my first attempt at keeping these plants.



  • Gurpreet Singh Says:
    January 2nd, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Hi, I love this plant and trying to grow Poinsettia from last 3 years but they died every year. So this time I followed all Poinsettia care tips and put plant in window under shady place with enough light. I watered them when soil feel dry in touch. But still I found upper new leaves are getting black and lower leaves are falling. There is no environment change as its winter time here temperature is 15-18 degree Celsius here.

    Can you please help me save my plants.



  • KAY MILLER Says:
    November 23rd, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    we live in Arizona and winter is like summer months back east. do I still follow all instructions as if we were back east. its warm year round here. still keep in the dark for the 12-15 hrs per day? is the darkness a necessary process? we have sunshine 340 days a yr. please advise……love your site.



  • ken johnson Says:
    September 27th, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I have a number of Poinsettias in a single, large pot. Very suddenly, two of these plants began showing symptoms similar to roses suffering from manganese shortage. Are poinsettias affected by this shortage as roses are; and is the remedy the same? If not, what’s the problem and how is it is corrected?



  • Frank Says:
    May 18th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I was always told you could not grow poinsettias all year. With your suggestions I hope to be able to do it.



  • bernice sickles Says:
    April 9th, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    why do the bloom on a poinsettia become smaller year after year?



  • Denise Porcelli Says:
    January 24th, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I found a poinsettia in the garbage yesterday in Michigan , the temp was about °5 . The plant was maybe out there a cpl hrs and was alive when put in the trash . Although it looks to be in very bad shape obviously , I’m hoping to bring it back . I’ve had good luck with rescuing plants from the garbage but a poinsettia is a new 1 for me . Any advice would be much appreciated .The pot nor soil were frozen , which led me to believe it wasn’t out there very long nor were the stalks froze or brittle from death . It has extensive damage but I’m hoping for a turn around . Can you please respond by email with ANY advice. I’ll try and save this page as well . Thank you in advance



  • Lu Says:
    January 4th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks
    I hate to throw them out as I usualy do so this time I will take your advise.
    Wish me luck I will need it.



  • amysue Says:
    February 17th, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Im so excited to try to keep my pointsettia growing all year. I love them especially the shape of the leaves.
    thanks for the instructions. 🙂



  • Jackie Rials Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 1:07 am

    This atrical was great & very informative . Thank you !



  • Jackie Rials Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 1:05 am

    What brand of fertilizer should I use ?


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