Poinsettia, the Christmas plant

Poinsettia plants remain one of the most popular holiday flowers. The familiar red flowers have been joined by even flashier colors. Poinsettia flowers are not really flowers. They are modified leaves called bracts. The bright bracts are designed to attract insects to the tiny yellow flowers in their centers. Hybridizers have expanded the range of colors from the familiar red to pastel yellow and vibrant bi-colors. Poinsettia doesn't have to be just holiday plants. Instead, with a bit of attention, you can not only keep your poinsettias looking good for longer, but can even help them rebloom in time for next year's festivities.

Care tips:


Lack of humidity during dry seasons, in particular winter, is an ongoing houseplant problem. If your home tends to be dry and your poinsettia is in direct light, you will find yourself watering frequently, possibly every day.


Average potting soil is fine if you’re repotting your poinsettia. Overwatering is a common killer. Remove any foil around the container that might inhibit drainage. Generally, watering once a week will suffice if you moisten the soil thoroughly. Avoid wetting the foliage.


Place your holiday poinsettia in a bright, sunny location. Poinsettias love a humid environment, so keeping them near other poinsettias or close to other plants helps to preserve their humid climate. Make sure to keep your poinsettia outside of any drafts, whether they are cold drafts from outside doors or warm drafts from heater vents.


During the winter, poinsettias do not like to get too dry. Also make sure that your poinsettia drains well, as they are susceptible to root rot. If there is wrapping paper around your poinsettia, poke holes in the bottom and place it in a plastic saucer to let excess water drain. Keep this same balanced watering schedule (watering when soil is dry, not letting soil stay dry, and making sure drainage is good) throughout the year.

Water the plant whenever the surface feels dry to the touch. Water until it drains out the bottom, but do not let the plant sit in water. Wilting is another common cause of leaf drop. A wilted plant can be revived and salvaged, but it will take another season to improve its appearance.


Trim all the way down to one or two buds, or to about 4 to 6 inches tall, once the colorful leaf bracts fall off. This usually occurs in early spring, right after lateral growth begins. When new growth begins a few months later, pinching your poinsettia back will give you a bushier plant, but your colorful leaf bracts may be smaller.


Place it near a sunny window. South, east or west facing windows are preferable to a north facing window. Poinsettias are tropical plants and will appreciate as much direct sunlight as you can provide.

During winter, poinsettias love bright, filtered sunlight. However, to achieve reblooming, poinsettias must have an 8 to 10 week period of long, dark nights. With the arrival of fall, put a box over your plant or place it in a dark closet every night. When blooming begins, you don't have to move it any more.


Poinsettias will not withstand a frost and can be killed if temperature goes below 10oC for an extended period. Avoid leaving the plant in an unheated car, and protect it with a light covering when transporting it from store to car or car to home. To keep the poinsettia in bloom as long as possible, maintain a temperature of 18-20o C during the day. Dropping the temperature to about 16o C. at night will not hurt the plant. However, cold drafts or allowing the leaves to touch a cold window can injure the leaves and cause premature leaf drop. If you've ever seen a weak poinsettia in bloom, with only a couple of leaves hanging on, it was probably exposed to temperatures that were too cool or to extreme shifts in temperature.

Keep Poinsettia Outside

You can keep poinsettia plants outdoors if temperatures remain above 10o C or you protect them from freezes. They enjoy the same conditions outdoors that they do indoors, namely a bright, sunny location that is shielded from wind. If planted in the ground, poinsettias prefer well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Outdoor poinsettias tend to grow weak, so they should be trimmed regularly.

With proper care, your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and right into late winter.

Pay attention to the following tips:

Place in a room where there is bright natural light but not where the sun will shine directly on the plant.

Keep the plant away from locations where it will receive hot or cold draughts.

Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Discard any excess water which  remains in the saucer after 10 minutes.

The bright color of the bracts will remain bright longer if temperatures do not exceed 22°C.


A more likely problem to watch out for is contact dermatitis. The Poinsettia plant exudes a milky sap when broken. Many people are sensitive to this sap, which can cause an itchy rash. Be especially careful not to rub your eyes after touching the plants. To be safe, wash your hands after handling a poinsettia plant and try to avoid pinching or pruning them with bare hands.

All parts of the poinsettia plant are mildly toxic, so keep the plants away from children and pets.

The impressive red leaves of poinsettia will give a touch of warmth to any decoration. Some decoration options are:

Hang it on the front door, as a wreath or bouquet.

Place an arrangement of poinsettia above or next to the fireplace and create a festive atmosphere.

Combine with candles creating a romantic atmosphere, always in the spirit of Christmas.

Welcome your holiday guests with a decorating festive arrangement.

We often see poinsettias forming a Christmas tree.

Poinsettia is great wherever you place it. It is also a great choice to give your loved ones along with your holiday wishes. Have a look at and find a wide range of beautiful arrangements of poinsettia and more Christmas flowers.