Sustainability made simple

How to Take Care of Your Poinsettia aka Christmas Star

How to Take Care of Poinsettias
Foto: Utopia / K.Stankiewicz

These gorgeous plants have become synonymous with the holiday season. Let’s take a look at how to take care of poinsettias aka Christmas Star to keep them thriving throughout the winter.

Around the same time as Christmas trees start showing up in stores, so do these festive potted plants. Though the deep red poinsettia plant is the most commonly associated with the festive season, they come in a variety of other colors as well. They are often believed to be difficult plants to care for, but in reality, they’re fairly low maintenance. We’ve gathered some tips on how to take care of poinsettias so you can keep them alive long after the holidays are over.

What to Look for When Buying Poinsettias

Consider drying the leaves for holiday-themed crafts.
Consider drying the leaves for holiday-themed crafts. (Foto: Utopia / K.Stankiewicz)

Before you learn how to take care of poinsettias, it’s essential to set yourself up for success by choosing the right plant at the store. For best results, you’ll want to:

  • Avoid purchasing plants that are kept in draughty areas
  • Look for tight flower buds and sturdy-looking bracts/leaves
  • Check the soil – if it’s too wet or too dry, the plants aren’t receiving proper care
  • Wrap well in paper for the journey home

If possible, shop at local greenhouses and garden centers. Not only do they offer better quality plants, you’ll also be supporting the local economy.

How to Take Care of Poinsettias: Water & Light

It doesn't take much work to take care of poinsettas for a season.
It doesn’t take much work to take care of poinsettas for a season. (Foto: Utopia / K.Stankiewicz)

Poinsettias are actually relatively low-maintenance indoor plants. Picking the right location will go a long way toward keeping your plant healthy, as will proper care and maintenance. If you want your poinsettias to last longer than one season, you might have more difficulty, though it can be done.

Tips for Watering:

  • Poinsettias don’t like much water, so less is more in this case.
  • It’s best to use room-temperature water, so you don’t shock the plant.
  • Water when the soil is visibly dry or the plant feels very light (approx. every 3 days).
  • Alternatively, you can water from the bottom once a week.

Choosing the Right Location:

  • Place your plant in a spot that gets some light – they won’t do well in full shade.
  • Keep away from drafty areas like near windows and doors to the outside.
  • Avoid placing them next to heating vents, radiators, or space heaters. They like heat, but too much, and you’ll have to water them nearly every day.
  • Bathrooms with windows make a great location because of the humidity from the shower.

Taking Care of Your Christmas Stars so they Lasts

The yellow buds are actually the flowers of a poinsettia plant.
The yellow buds are actually the flowers of a poinsettia plant. (Foto: Utopia / K.Stankiewicz)

As a seasonal potted plant, poinsettias don’t require much special care. However, for those hoping to ‘over-summer’ their poinsettia plants, you’ll experience a much more demanding side of these beauties. Let’s look at how to take care of poinsettias for year-round enjoyment.

  1. Around April, you’ll want to prune the poinsettia plant to about 4 inches and store it at a consistent temperature of 55°F.
  2. In May, you can repot your poinsettias and grow them in a cool but bright location. The ideal temperature for this stage is around 59-65°F.
  3. When you notice new growth, feed the poinsettia an organic fertilizer to encourage growth.
  4. Once the nights are warm enough, you can move your poinsettia plant outdoors in a partially shady location. Just be sure to bring it back in when the nights start to get cooler again.
  5. Come November, the hard work starts. It’s time to start ‘forcing’ the plant so that it begins to develop color. You’ll need to provide your poinsettia with 12 hours of bright light followed by 12 hours of complete darkness. To be successful, you may need to invest in a grow light (available on Amazon**).

Read on:

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

Do you like this post?

Thank you very much for voting!