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Poinsettia, the Christmas star plant


Poinsettia is one of the cutest indoor plants, most striking around Christmas.

Summary of Poinsettia facts

NameEuphorbia pulcherrima
Type – shrub, indoor plant

Exposure – well-lit
Soil – soil mix

Foliage – evergreen – Flowering – winter

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Planting poinsettia

Start planting and caring for your poinsettia as early as September for it to bloom at the end of the year.

Poinsettia Indoors :

  • Planting poinsettiaGive your plant good soil mix.
  • The quality of the soil mix will directly impact the quality of the blooming.
  • It is recommended to place clay pebbles at the bottom of the pot to facilitate drainage. Roots won’t linger in water.
  • This isn’t critical if you’ve just recently purchased your poinsettia and that its pot clearly has a hole at the bottom.

Poinsettia Outdoors :

  • Outdoor poinsettiaPoinsettia is a tropical plant, it only grows in specific climate parameters that include both warmth and moisture.
  • Growing it outdoors is however possible in the Mediterranean area and along coastlines and in warm climates in general, as long as shelter is provided.
  • Cold Limits for poinsettia :  Poinsettias grow well when temperatures are mild, in a range of between 65-70°F.

Watering poinsettia

  • Watering poinsettiaWater abundantly when the soil around your poinsettia dries up, and even wait for it to be totally dry before watering again.
  • It is crucial that you water with water at room temperature or warmer than 70°F (20°C). Cold water can kill it.
  • Reduce watering after the blooming because it doesn’t need as much, and start watering again at the end of summer.
  • If its leaves turn white and loose their color, it’s most often due to excess water or insufficient drainage.


Pruning poinsettia

After the blooming, cut back the stems to more or less 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) from the base. Cutting back in this manner means snipping all the stems of the entire plant.

You’ll thus be stimulating new growth and renewed blooming for the following winter.

For more specific information about how to deal with your poinsettia after the blooming, read the paragraph dedicated to it below.

Growing and caring for poinsettia

poinsettia carePoinsettia is a very beautiful exotic plant that is native to the tropical areas of Central America.

Caring for it is rather easy, whether you’re talking about planting, watering or repotting.

It is perfectly suited to living indoors. Ideal air temperatures hover between 65°F and 68°F (18°C to 20°C).

It blooms most during Christmas time and that is when it appears everywhere in flower shops and garden stores.

Rarer varieties depart from the usual red, they boast pink or even white flowers.

Indoor poinsettia

When growing it in a house and apartment, best is to locate it near a source of light, but without direct sun, especially during the most exposed hours of the day.

Ensure constant air moisture levels by often spraying water on its leaves. Here are other ways to increase air moisture. However, avoid getting the flowers wet.

Fertilizer for poinsettia

  • Don’t add any fertilizer during the blooming phase.
  • Outside this period, start feeding it liquid flower plant fertilizer once a month.

Diseases and problems you’ll have with poinsettia

Yellow poinsettia leaves

Disease on poinsettiaIf leaves turn yellow and wither, it means the surrounding air is too dry.
Best is to rest your plant on a bed of gravel, rocks or clay marbles kept constantly wet.

Leaves turn white or lose their color

It’s most often due to excess water or insufficient drainage.
It is important to water only when the soil is very dry.

Poinsettia after flowering

Your plant enters a dormant state. What is called “blooming” for poinsettia is actually a set of red or yellow leaves, because the poinsettia flowers themselves are quite insignificant.

  • Caring for PoinsettiaTowards the end of April, cut back stems by about ⅓, they should not be any taller than 4 inches (10 cm).
  • Repot the poinsettia in a new pot filled with soil mix.
  • Reduce watering and always wait for the soil to dry before watering again.
  • Bring it outdoors over the summer.
  • Resume watering a bit more often and add fertilizer starting in August-September.
  • Bring it back indoors in September.

Poinsettia is a plant that requires floral induction for it to bloom again in the following year.

This means it must be set in complete darkness for 20 days from 6 PM to 8 AM the next day, so that it can bloom again come Christmas. Even artificial lights would disrupt this, so either move the plant to inside a cupboard, an unused room with the blinds drawn, or simply plunk it under a carton box.

  • Your poinsettia will bloom again before the year is over.

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Smart tip about poinsettia

Proceed to repot every year at the beginning of spring in order to enhance the following blooming and proper plant growth.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Naotake Murayama, NewAfrica
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  • Betty wrote on 6 January 2023 at 16 h 16 min

    Poinsettia is a quintessential christmas plant but is finicky to care for, this page helps me so much, thanks a lot

  • Rod wrote on 31 December 2022 at 20 h 49 min

    thank you for sharing all this tips, my poinsettia is wonderful this year 😊