How to Grow a Poinsettia Plant

Overview

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are natives of southern Mexico and were first discovered there in the early 1800s. While the crimson variety of poinsettia is by far the most popular, these flowers are actually available in a wide range of hues, including yellow, pastel pink and even bicolors. Traditionally considered Christmas flowers, poinsettia plants are often disposed of after the holiday when their leaves begin to drop, but these plants are actually tender perennials that can thrive for many seasons to come when provided with the proper care.

Step 1

Place the poinsettia plant in a south-facing window that receives an abundance of sunshine and is free of drafts.

Step 2

Keep the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit while the flower is blooming to encourage the blooms to last longer.

Step 3

Water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Add water until it begins to drip into the tray under the pot. Do not allow the poinsettia to sit in the water; instead drain off any excess within a few minutes of the initial watering.

Step 4

Feed twice per month with an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer during the growing season.

Step 5

Reduce watering frequency and stop fertilizing in late winter after the majority of the leaves have fallen off. Examine the poinsettia plant often and add just enough water to keep the stems from wilting.

Step 6

Clip the plant back after the leaves have dropped until only the two best-looking buds remain.

Step 7

Choose a location in your garden to plant your poinsettia after all danger of frost has passed for your area. These plants do best in full to partial sun. It is a good idea to plant them in a protected location, such as near a wall or porch, to prevent damage from strong wind gusts.

Step 8

Dig a hole that is a 2 to 3 inches larger in diameter and 2 to 3 inches deeper than the pot your poinsettia is growing in and put it in the ground.

Step 9

Continue to water the poinsettia whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Once new growth begins to emerge, fertilize weekly with an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer.

Step 10

Bring the plant back inside before the first fall frost occurs. To encourage Christmas blooms, place the poinsettia in a totally dark location for 14 hours each day beginning in early November.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not allow poinsettia leaves to come into contact with a cold window, as this will cause the leaves to fall off. Be careful not to overwater poinsettias in order to prevent damage from root rot. Keep poinsettia plants away from curious children and pets because the sap from the stems and leaves can cause stomach upset if ingested.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer
  • Garden shears
  • Garden spade

References

  • North Dakota State University: Questions of Poinsettia
  • The Garden Helper: Care and Growing Requirements for Poinsettias in the Garden
  • You Grow Girl: Save Your Poinsettia
Keywords: poinsettias, grow poinsettia, poinsettia plant, plant poinsettia

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.