How to Care for Poinsettias After the Holidays

Learn how to care for poinsettias even after Christmas is over, including how to water poinsettias and how to get poinsettias to rebloom.

how to care for poinsettiasJulie Garrard/Getty ImagesA little greenery is the perfect antidote for post-holiday blues. There’s no need to throw away your poinsettia plant after Christmas. Here is how to care for poinsettias and keep them looking pretty nearly all year round.

Buy a Healthy Poinsettia Plant

Start with a healthy, fresh plant. Houseplant grower Costa Farms says if the tiny flowers in the center of the colorful bracts are green buds, not brown or producing pollen, the plants will tend to keep their color a little longer. Check out our favorite easy-care holiday houseplants.

Do Poinsettias Need Sun?

At home, keep the plant away from drafts and heat, which include doorways, vents and fireplaces. Place the poinsettia in a very sunny spot—the pros at Costa Farms emphasize that “poinsettias thrive on sunlight.” (Try one of these low-light plants if you need an option for a dark corner.)

How Often Do You Water Poinsettias?

Poinsettias also need water, but not too much. Jim Faust, an associate professor of plant and environmental sciences at Clemson University, says, “Watering once per week is sufficient,” depending on the size of your plant and the conditions in your home. “Overwatering tends to be more of a problem than under watering,” he says. And it can cause the plant to lose leaves early.

Watering too often can also lead to root rot. “Never let the pot sit in water,” Jim says. Be sure to remove the decorative foil wrapper, which can trap water. Check out tips for watering container gardens.

How to Care for Poinsettias After the Holidays

Despite your best efforts, your poinsettia will likely drop most of its leaves by March or April. Once that happens, cut it back to 6 to 8 inches tall. Keep it watered and in a sunny location. You can even take it outside for a summer vacation. Psst—these are the top 10 blooming houseplants to grow indoors.

With filtered sunlight, ample water and feedings of liquid fertilizer, your poinsettia should be an easy-care patio plant. Be sure to bring it back inside before the risk of frost (here’s a helpful first and last frost dates chart). Check your poinsettia for pests and treat it if needed.

How Do You Get a Poinsettia to Rebloom?

Now you know how to care for poinsettias. Getting a poinsettia to rebloom and regain its festive color is a little trickier. This requires some hard work and dedication.

Starting in October, give your poinsettia about 14 hours of total, continuous darkness in a space that’s a little bit cooler than 70 degrees, followed by 10 hours of bright light. A dark closet and a grow light on a timer work well. Just remember to keep it watered. You can also cover the plant with a box each night and put it in bright sunlight each morning. With a little luck and perseverance, your poinsettia will be as beautiful as when you first bought it.

Learn five fascinating poinsettia facts.

Christmas Beauty Marble poinsettiaBall Horticultural Company
Christmas Beauty Marble poinsettia

New Poinsettia Varieties to Try

Multicolored: The bright pink and white bracts of Christmas Beauty Marble make a splash. Superba New Glitter dazzles with red leaves and splashes of sparkling white.

Compact: Princettia is a very popular smaller poinsettia, grows in an attractive shape and is available in a few colors.

All White: Alaska is one of the brightest white varieties and also has holly-shaped leaves.

Not Just for Christmas: Autumn Leaves adds orange flair to Halloween or Thanksgiving. Use a pink selection like Bravo Pink for a fun Valentine’s Day centerpiece.

Next, check out the best plant gifts to give and receive.

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Helen Newling Lawson
Helen Newling Lawson is a published garden writer and freelance content marketing professional. She is a lifelong gardener, originally from central New Jersey but now digging in Georgia clay. She has been a University of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer since 2002 and earned the Georgia Certified Plant Professional certification in 2017. A regional director of GardenComm, the Association of Garden Communicators, Helen is a contributor to magazines including Country Gardens, Birds and Blooms, Georgia Magazine, Nursery Management, State-by-State Gardening, and Atlanta Parent. She has also developed content for clients in a range of industries, from tech to the green industry. She enjoys photography, often supplying her own images for editorial use, and hikes and does yoga in her spare time.