How to Grow Poinsettias Year-Round

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

  • Poinsettia Care in the Home (Paul Ecke Ranch)
  • Poinsettia (Royal Horticultural Society)

65 COMMENTS

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!

  9. 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

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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?

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

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

  26. Have my poinsettia outside in ground about 3 years now but this summer it looks awful, leaves aren’t so bright green and the plant looks leggy, it’s about 4 ft tall. How far back can I trim it, where there are no leaves? I am in South Texas . Thank you

  27. The article is very informative and helpful. I had been growing poinsettia for four to five years. Their growth and bloom has improved after following the instructions given herein.
    I wish to know if the grafting can be done to change the colour of the bloom. How to do it.
    Thanks much for your beautifully researched and written article.

  28. We have a poinsettia that is in a pot the plant itself is around 3 ft high —
    what we need to know is when do we trim it back and how far do we cut it back? Thank you

  29. My one year old plant started blooming beautifully in January. But now leaves are dropping. What can I do? No sign of insects.

  30. I live in Daytona Beach, FL and have several poinsettia plants. I have a huge live oak and want to plant them around the tree. There are several other plants such as petunias bromiliard and an amarillis. The light is filtered. The temperature here in the summer runs about 85-95. I do know of a woman in Leesburgh who had poinsettias climbing the one side of her house and they are also in filtered sunlight. They are beautiful and I would like to see them around the oak tree like that. And they attract black and yellow striped butterflies. Please help. Thank you.

  31. I live in the south if UK. I got a poinsettia at Christmas and it sits in my bay window and it is still in bloom. I do feed it Orchid feed once a week and have repotted it in mix if orchid and multi purpose compost. Is this natural?

  32. Sometimes around beginning of Jan. Or so my poinsettias leaves were falling off and at 1 point they were like all sticks. I thought the plant was dead. But i held onto it after reading an article like what I’m saying here. I just let it go dry between watering which actually brought it back. Its blooming beautifully now. Months ago it ALMOST was trash bound. My message is Just hold onto your plant even if u think its dead. Might surprise you 😉 btw I have absolutely NO GREEN THUMB. This is the first plant i coups keep alive. Got it Christmas 2016. It pulled through wonderfully

  33. Thanks but is it ok to have it in my bedroom ? it is dark in there all most all day . in the fall season.

  34. I have a poinsettia that is approaching 17 years old. I have moved this plant in/out as seasons change, cut the upper foliage down several wivery good results. Repotted to larger pots as needed. I have had to use a 2 wheel hand truck to move the last few years, it is now root bound once again. I need to split the rootball in half, and pair them both down to a manageable size again, but not sure what the best way would be. I need some sound advise! Anybody got some? Thank you!

  35. Brought my poinsettia in when the temp. Started to fall below 60 and put back under grow light. 2weeks ago. Now all my leaves are falling off. SHOCK. or maybe too much water?

  36. Hello. we inherited a 10ft high x 7ft wide poinsettia at the house we bought 2 yrs ago. the red leaves came out beautifully the first year. This year we had small red leaves, they didnt last long (3 weeks ..ish), and now all have shrivelled up with only branches on the tree, looking almost dead!In Australia we are mid spring. Will it return to great looking health.? I may have given it a bit too much water over time, given what i have since read. Thanku for any help/advice, WWP

  37. I have a 5 feet tall poinsettia plant out side and it blooms every year, but this year, the leaves are very small and pale and 3 of the large branches look like they are dying. When I trimmed the tree as I usually do at the end of August, I planted 2 of the larges branches and planted on pots. How can I help these plants.

  38. can I leave my plant out with one flower and the rest still in buds will they go and still later without the darkness? First year at this. Thank you

  39. I received a beautiful two feet high poinsettia as a gift just before Christmas. It stayed nicely until about a week ago when leaves and flowers began to shrivel, die and fall off. I can’t. Put the pot in a place where there is good light. It is on the floor about eight feet away from my outside entrance door. The door is mostly glass and there are two side panels that are about two feet wide by seven feet high. The entrance is recessed about five feet from the outside. Is there any hope for this poinsettia plant?

  40. Will the poinsettia plant flower even if I don’t do the darkness treatment, I don’t care if it turns red or stays green I just like the looks of the plant.
    I appreciate your help & advise.

  41. Hello and thank you for this article on How to Grow Poinsettias Year-Round. I purchased a Poinsettia a little before Christmas and it is really a beautiful one. I would say a few years old as a medium size. So, it has just been lovely over the last few months. It is still growing still, but l am really wanting to keep it well & look after it properly. In the May to September period, do l water it at all when repotting etc? Am l watering as in the previous few months, letting the soil dry in between the watering? Thank you for your time. Jenn

  42. I bought a tiny pointsettia last Christmas. After the new year, I transplanted it to a slightly larger pot, and it is going wild! I keep it under a growing light near my hydroponic herb garden, feeding it every couple of weeks along with my herbs. It seems to like that. I’m thinking about a larger pot soon. Thanks very much for your tips on care.

  43. I planted a poinsettia outdoors at the beginning of the summer. It flourished. I dug it up this week and potted it. The leaves immediately wilted. Hope do I restore/revive the plant?

  44. I have three plants which I would like to plant outside. I live in South Africa .I would like to know whether I must plant them in the full su or shade. Thank you

  45. I have a poinsettia that I inherited from a neighbor after her death. I just saw a lovely green foilage plant about 1 foot high. I didn’t know what it was until it started getting the red “bracs”. It must have been at my house in a perfect place because it thrived and bloomed beautifully with Bracs forthree years. Now all the leaves have been gone for months, only stems remaining, and no sign of new leaves? I don’t know if it is dead? I have been watering weekly and still keep it in the same place in a window. I have never repotted it, and have loved the way it filled a circular glazed bathroom window!!! I read all the info and comments but didn’t seem like any were exactly like my problem. I would love to know what else to do. I never trimmed back any branches because I wanted it to keep spreading it’s branchs out til it filled in the window. I also have 2 new poinsettias this Christmas, so can follow the directions to keep them alive. I hope .. Thanks so much.

    • Hi, Sue,
      Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. You didn’t include the location, so we would suggest ing your local Master Gardeners association.
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck with that poinsettia!

  46. My Christmas Pointsettia has started to have a new set of lovely green leaves. Will the whole plant revert back to green or should the new leaves be red. Thanking you in anticipation. Jessica.

  47. I have 2 poinsettias that I’ve been able to keep alive and blooming for 3 years. I live in western Montana so they stay inside in a southern window until about late June, early July. By then, they look fairly scraggly, but moving them outside on a covered porch, they begin to grow new leaves and start to look good again. I throw Osmocote into the pot and, due to our very low humidity, water them almost daily. I don’t spritz them, fertilize again, or keep in dark conditions outside of the night’s darkness. By the time I bring them back inside, they have beautiful green foliage. They go back to the southern window and begin to show red leaves about January (I don’t care that they’re not in time for Christmas). They “bloom” PROFUSELY! It’s now May 7, 2019, but still too cold to put them outside. The canopy of “blooms” have not faded but some of the red leaves are falling off. I’m anxious to get them back outside so once it’s warm enough, they’ll go out even if they are still “blooming”. I don’t think keeping poinsettias is as difficult as people may think. They seem to be hardy and can do quite nicely without pampering!

  48. I planted three poinsettias in an outdoor pot here in Phoenix AZ. Most of the red leaves curled off and died. Now they are growing a vast amount of beautiful dark green leaves. My dilemma is that I put them in a large pot, not one I can bring inside. Will they survive our 100+ degree weather?
    In the meantime they look great and are continuing to grow. I water once weekly and spirits 2 additional time. I guess time will tell if they will produce color again.

    • Hi, Kris,
      We suggest ing your local Master Gardeners association for the best recommendation tailored to your geographic area. Here’s where you can do that: https://extension.arizona.edu/maricopamg
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!

  49. I live in San Antonio Tx and it’s gets pretty hot here in in summer. I except a beautiful red spot w/gold spot poinsettia for Xmas and it still beautiful. I have kept outside in a corner away from direct sun and it seems to love it there. However the heat is amount is and I am not sure if I shld bring indoor? It will probably stay in the mid to high 90’s all summer.

    • Hi, Martie,
      Conditions vary with geography, so we recommend seeking local advice.
      The nursery where you purchased the plant can provide information to ensure optimal care and growth.
      Good luck!

  50. Hi,
    I live in Malta where the temperature right now is around 93-100 F. It has lost all its red leaves and now has flourished into some very nice green leaves. However I did not prune way back in May. Can I do that now or is it too late?
    Would greatly appreciate your advise if possible by email, but i’ll save the link here just in case.
    Many thanks

    • Hi, Josette,
      Thanks for visiting TodaysHomeowner.com from 5,000 miles away — that’s awesome!
      But the great distance also makes it difficult to offer advice, as care for poinsettias varies by geographical location and we only have information at this time for the United States, particularly the southern region.
      We recommend seeking out gardening experts local to Malta for the best advice.
      Good luck — and let us know how it goes!

  51. It is now the end of July, and my pointsettia still has it blooms…a some leaves have dropped. I water when completely dry and it is in south window. Not sure when I should cut back to promote blooming again this year. Hate to cut it when it is still holding bloom. Is this normal?

LEAVE A REPLY