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Care of Poinsettia Plants


Initial Care of your newly purchased Plant….

When purchasing poinsettia plants make sure the plant is wrapped properly to protect it from cold temperatures during the trip home.

Place it near a sunny window.
Maintain a temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 18 degrees Celsius.
Mist the plant daily with lukewarm water.
To avoid spots on the leaves from misting use distilled water.
Water the plant when the surface is dry to the touch.
Water thoroughly until the water completely drains into the saucer.
Make sure to empty the saucer of drained water.
Keep the plant away from all drafty areas, hot or cold air.

Poinsettia Care after the Holidays….

January to March – Keep watering when the surface is dry and misting the plant throughout the day (3-4 times). Poinsettias love the humidity the misting creates.

April – Gradually decrease watering allowing the poinsettia plant to get dry between watering. But be careful that the plant does not shrivel. Discontinue misting during this period. After your poinsettia is used to this dryness, move it to a cool basement or any place where the temperature is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 15 degrees Celsius, for a period of about four weeks.

May – Cut the plant back to about 4-5 inches above the soil level, repot into the next size container and sprinkle one tablespoon of bone meal over the roots. At this time you may also add some slow release fertilizer, like 14-14-14, or 19-6-12 for faster growth. Water the newly transplanted plant with Superthrive or any transplant solution which contains Vitamin B1. Now it’s time to place your poinsettia plant in a sunny window where the temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 18 degrees Celsius. Mist the plant daily and water when the surface is dry. If you haven’t added a slow release fertilizer while transplanting, start fertilizing with an all purpose fertilizer every two weeks as soon as new growth appears.

June – Move your poinsettia plant outside into a partial sunny location and continue to water and fertilize it.

July – At the beginning of the month cut back each stem about an inch. This will encourage your poinsettia to branch resulting in a bushy plant. If you don’t pinch it back, your poinsettia grows tall without side branches.

August – By now your plant should have branched well and it’s time to cut it back one more time so each shoot has about four leaves left. At this time continue with your fertilizing, misting, and watering schedule.

September – Continue to fertilize, misting, and water and make sure the temperature stays above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 18 degrees Celsius.

October – As your poinsettia needs short days in order to set buds, you have to provide it with twelve hours of total darkness starting the first day of October. Give the plant darkness from 5 pm to 8 am every day during this period. Without these additional hours of darkness poinsettias won’t set buds and the leaves remain green. Place a box or black plastic bag over the poinsettia plant making sure no light reaches the plant. During daytime move the plant to a sunny window and continue to fertilize, misting, and water.

November – At the end of the month discontinue the darkness treatment and leave the plant in its sunny window. At this time you should be able to see flower buds.

December – Discontinue fertilizing about the middle of the month. Continue watering and misting and treat your poinsettia plant just like you did after you bought it. At this time your poinsettia should be blooming again.

Like many tropical plants poinsettias can be grown successfully indoors when properly tested and proven guidelines are followed. One can enjoy poinsettia plants for months until it is time to bring out the Easter Lily.

Copyright © Bob Walsh

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I'm glad you wrote this - next time some dedicated soul wants to know how to get their poinsettia to produce red bracts again, I'll point them in this direction.

21 Dec, 2010


Hi Bamboo,

Thanks. Every year many poinsettia plants end up in the trash. But it's not hard to have them produce their red bracts again. You even can train them into a standard.

Happy Holidays,


21 Dec, 2010


Very interesting, Bob. I have advised people who want to try & get their plants to flower in following years almost the same as you!

Last Christmas (2009) my daughter gave me one. I have got it to flower again this year.

When I lived in Spain I had one plant that flowered every year for many years, I don't remember how many. The one thing I didn't do at that time was to prune it. I just let it grow & it eventually got to about waist height. Only the bracts were tiny & the plant looked horrible after a few years. :-((

I used to cover it with a black bin bag from when the kids went back to school, after the summer holidays, till the bracts were well developed & then I left it out in the living room. Every Christmas I had it in "flower".

27 Dec, 2010

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