Poinsettia Plant Care: Tips On Caring For This Holiday Favorite

Last Updated on December 11, 2022

Colorful poinsettias are a traditional holiday favorite. Here are some useful poinsettia care tips to help you enjoy yours longer.

poinsettia care tips

This holiday season, poinsettias will be everywhere. With their colorful bracts and yellow flower buds, poinsettias are a must-have for holiday decorating, along with Christmas trees, holiday wreaths, and holiday centerpieces. But how do you care for these beautiful plants?

This article will show you how to properly care for your poinsettias, including watering tips, light requirements, and even how to care for them after the holidays. 

Quick And Easy Poinsettia Care Tips

Poinsettias come in numerous colors and varieties, but no matter what color or variety, the basics of poinsettia care during the blooming cycle are the same. 

If you want to keep your poinsettia blooming throughout the holiday season, here are some easy tips to get you started.


Poinsettias like bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn, and allowing the leaves to touch the window glass can damage the plant. Placing them near a sunny window that gets 6-8 hours of diffused sunlight per day is optimum, but they will be fine with less.

Temperature and Humidity

Display them in areas where the temperature is between 65°F – 75°F, and keep them out of drafty areas. Poinsettias, like all indoor plants in the winter, benefit from extra humidity if possible. Misting your plant several times a week is beneficial.


Water your poinsettia when it feels dry or when the pot feels lighter than usual. Never allow your poinsettias to dry out, so the leaves wilt. Before watering, remove the decorative foil or outer pot cover to allow the water to drain completely from the pot. Never allow your poinsettia to sit in water.


 No fertilizing is required during the blooming cycle.

That’s all there is to it, except to enjoy your poinsettia.

Red Poinsettia plant

If you bought a poinsettia for yourself or received one as a gift, here’s a video clip from Laura at GardenAnswer that shares some helpful poinsettia care insights.

Everything from what to look for when choosing a poinsettia, keeping it beautiful throughout the holiday season, and continuing to grow it after the holidays. It’s all summed up here.

You will find this video helpful. Check it out yourself.

I’m certain that watching this video helped you understand more about caring for poinsettias.

Caring For Your Poinsettia After It’s Done Blooming

An overview of the proper care steps you need to follow is covered well in the video. 

I continue growing mine indoors after it’s done blooming. In March, I cut my poinsettia back by about 1/3 to 1/2 to stimulate a bushier plant.

I repot it into a larger container and set it outside as weather permits and continue enjoying the lush, green foliage throughout the summer, pinching it back as needed to keep it looking good.

To maintain healthy growth, I apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks.

Poinsettia plants are not expensive, so each year before the first frost, I compost my poinsettia. At the beginning of December, I replace it with a new one for the holidays.

What Do I Need to Know to Get My Poinsettia to Rebloom?

Most people find the reblooming process more work than they are willing to do. You can count me among them. I’ve tried it before, but I wouldn’t say I liked the result.

The grower in this short clip tells it like it is. It’s an honest answer I think you’ll appreciate.

It’s the reason I replace my poinsettia every year.

That said, it’s not hard to get poinsettias to bloom again. But it does take military-like discipline to achieve success.

Poinsettias are short-day plants. That means they require 14 hours of total darkness each night for about 10 weeks to initiate flowering.

If you want your poinsettia to color up and bloom for the holidays, you need to begin the process in early September. Because the daylight hours are still longer in the fall, you need to extend the dark periods by completely covering your poinsettia, blocking any light source. Try using a large black plastic bag or cardboard box.

Cover your plant between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., then remove the covering and place it in an area that receives bright light from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Repeat this process daily for 8 to 10 weeks.

It’s important to note that any light, even the slightest amount, can disrupt blooming.

In November, the bracts should begin to color up, and flower buds will start to form. You can then stop the light-dark treatment, display it in a bright area, and resume routine care. Your poinsettia will continue to color up and bloom during the holidays.

Common Poinsettia Problems and Questions

What’s Causing My Poinsettia Leaves to Turn Yellow or Fall Off?

If your poinsettia has leaves that are turning yellow, drooping, or falling off, it’s likely a watering issue, either too much or too little.

Do not let your plant dry out too much or let the soil get soggy. Adjust your watering schedule so that the soil stays slightly damp. 

The poinsettias I have at home during the holidays are in 8-inch pots. I water them in the kitchen sink every 4 or 5 days, letting the excess water drain completely before redisplaying them. In my house, that’s what seems to work best. 

Generally, plants growing in smaller pots will have to be watered more frequently but use your finger to test the soil conditions first.

Are Poinsettias Poisonous?

No, poinsettias aren’t poisonous to humans or pets. In some instances, contact with the milky sap may cause mild skin irritation or an upset stomach if ingested.

If you have concerns, keep them away from your pets or small children.

One Quick Thing Before You Go…

Did you know that poinsettia bracts are not only beautiful, but they can also be used as cut flowers too?
If you want to learn the secret to using them in a holiday arrangement, be sure to read my post: How to Prepare and Use Poinsettias as Cut Flowers

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Til next time,

Greg Johnson
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