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How to Revive a Pointsettia

christmas poinsettia image by William Berry from

It's well into the new year and the poinsettia plants you purchased at Christmas time have now lost their leaves and give all appearances of being dead. The poinsettia plant is a typical tropical plant and with a bit of constant tender loving care, it can be brought back to life and thrive for the next holiday season.

Repot the Plant

Choose a pot at least twice as large as the existing pot.

Fill the new pot with a good quality, tropical plant potting soil. You can find this at any home and garden center.

Dig a hole in the center of the new pot as deep as the existing pot and twice as large. For example, if the poinsettia is currently in a 6-inch pot, dig the hole at least 6 inches deep and approximately 8 inches across.

Remove the poinsettia carefully from the existing pot. Shake off any loose potting soil and gently loosen the roots, allowing them more space.

Place the plant into the hole in the new pot and fill in potting soil around the plant.

Place the plant in an area of your home where the temperature will remain a constant 65 to 75 degrees F and has exposure to sunlight. Water often to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet.

Prune and Condition the Poinsettia

Trim the stems of the plant back to approximately 2 to 3 inches above the soil level in the late spring.

Begin setting the plant outdoors on warm, spring days on your patio balcony or porch. Place in an area that receives plenty of light, but not in direct sunlight. Bring the plant back indoors each day until all danger of frost in your area is over.

Leave the plant outdoors until September.

Forced Darkness

Bring the plant indoors in late September or very early October.

Care for the plant much as you did in the spring by placing it in a warm, sunny area during the daylight hours.

Place the plant in an unused closet for at least 12 hours every day until the last week of November. This will allow the plant the environment it needs to begin budding out.

Care for the plant as normal during December, allowing it sunshine and warmth. You can expect some level of flowering again around Christmas time.


Light during the darkness period will keep your poinsettia from blooming. If you do not have an unused closet during this period, place a well sealed, heavy cardboard box over the plant.

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