How to Care for Christmas Poinsettia Plants

Overview

Few people get through the Christmas season without receiving a poinsettia plant as a gift. Often wrapped in shiny foil paper or a decorative pot, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is the unofficial plant mascot of Christmas. If you want to enjoy your poinsettia beyond the holiday season, keep it alive with the right care. A poinsettia can even be coaxed to survive through the following Christmas and re-bloom for the next holiday.

Step 1

Place the poinsettia plant in bright, indirect sunlight for at least six hours each day.

Step 2

Maintain air temperatures around the poinsettia plant of 68 to 70 degrees F. Keep the poinsettia away from cold drafts, heating or air conditioning vents, or other places with temperature extremes or fluctuations.

Step 3

Water the poinsettia when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Water the plant to moisten the soil moderately and evenly.

Step 4

Keep the air humid around the poinsettia plant by placing the pot on top of a drainage dish filled with water and gravel. Ensure that the pot is sitting on top of the gravel and not in the water.

Step 5

Feed the poinsettia plant after it's finished blooming with a balanced, all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once each month during its non-blooming seasons. Follow the dosage instructions on the fertilizer label.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't over-water poinsettias because they are susceptible to root rot. Remove the plant from any decorative container or foil before watering it so that the water can drain freely from the bottom of the planter pot. Keep the poinsettia out of the reach of children and pets, because the leaves and stems may cause a toxic reaction if ingested. Also be careful when cutting or pruning the plant because the milky-white, latex sap contained in the stems and leaves can irritate skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Drainage dish
  • Gravel
  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Washington State University: Poinsettia Care
  • AllFreeCrafts.com: How to Care for Christmas Poinsettia Plants

Who Can Help

  • Ed Hume Seeds: The Christmas Poinsettia
Keywords: Christmas poinsettia plants, poinsettia houseplant care, growing poinsettias

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.