The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

December 26, 2008

Caring for Your Poinsettia

Our Poinsettias turned out wonderful this year.

The color and size were outstanding.

We grew about 250 poinsettias of various colors: marble-pink, burgundy, white, and of course, red.

We started giving them out about mid-December and sent the last ones out on the 23rd.

To keep your poinsettia going for as long as possible, you need to follow just a couple of simple guidelines.

First, keep in mind that most poinsettias die from over-watering. Your home probably has a lower quality of sunlight than the greenhouse from which it came, so your plant will be less actively growing and therefore need less water.

So, let the pot dry out some before watering. Then water the plant thoroughly until water flows out of the bottom of the pot.

If any water remains in the foil pot-wrapper, dump it out. It is this extra water in the foil that causes main reason of poinsettias dying prematurely;  waterlogged roots.

Don’t worry about fertilizer for your plant, it won’t really need much until spring. A half-strength dose of water soluble fertilizer once in a while should be adequate.

Also, keep in mind that poinsettias weren’t meant to last too much longer than the Christmas season.  They were bred for color, not hardiness.

Enjoy your poinsettia as a reminder of wonderful Christmas memories.



  1. OK I don’t feel so bad about my poinsettias looking a bit ill. The leaves on the red plant I got this year started drooping already.

    I have a white one that is from Christmas 2007 that is still alive and was blooming white nearly the entire year, however half the plant died out and the darn thing now looks lopsided.

    Comment by Paula Wethington — December 26, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  2. Hi Paula, You really did quite well keeping your poinsettia alive for a whole year! Lots of bright light through the winter will help keep them going. When spring arrives, you can trim that lopsided plant by cutting off a few inches from the remaining branches which will encourage the plant to form new branches on the other side . It should grow enough to fill in the missing part. Judging by your description, it may even need to be repotted if it looks like it’s starting to out-grow its pot.
    In summer set your poinsettia outside in a protected spot that gets some sunhine to really get it going.
    Thanks for sharing your Christmas plant experience.

    Comment by Bob — December 27, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

  3. That must be why my poinsettias always die so quickly. Too much water!! I have the worst luck with them. But, I always buy a bunch from the church kids, mostly for donation since they don’t last for me. But, now I know what to do with them. Thanks!

    Comment by victoria — April 19, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

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