Tips for Taking Care of Poinsettias: A Comprehensive Guide


With their bold and festive colors, poinsettias are a staple in many holiday decorations. Most commonly seen in the vibrant shades of red, white, and pink, these unique plants add a touch of Christmas cheer to any home or office. But how do you care for these beautiful plants to ensure they stay healthy and vibrant all season long?

Poinsettias should be placed near a window where they can receive an average amount of light. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to fade and lose their vibrant colors, while too little light can lead to leggy growth. If you’re unsure about the lighting conditions in your home, a whitestar poinsettia may be a good choice, as it thrives in lower light environments.

In terms of watering, poinsettias should be watered thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. It’s important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. In addition, poinsettias don’t like to sit in standing water, so be sure to empty any excess water that collects in the saucer or pot.

Another key aspect of poinsettia care is temperature. Poinsettias are tropical plants and are sensitive to frost. They should be kept in a room with temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing them near drafty windows or heating vents, as this can cause leaf drop.

When it comes to fertilizing, poinsettias typically don’t require much. Most poinsettias come ready with a slow-release fertilizer in the soil, so there’s no need to add additional fertilizer. However, if you want to give your poinsettia a boost, a balanced fertilizer can be applied once a month.

To keep your poinsettia looking its best, it’s important to remove any faded or dead leaves and blooms. This will not only improve the appearance of the plant, but it will also help prevent the spread of diseases. Simply pinch off any dead or faded parts of the plant using your fingers or a pair of clean scissors.

Whether you choose a classic red variety, a unique white or pink variety, or one of the more recent rainbow or Picasso varieties, caring for your poinsettia will ensure that it stays healthy and vibrant throughout the holiday season. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local garden center or university extension office if you need further guidance on caring for your poinsettias. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy the beauty of these colorful plants throughout the holiday season and beyond.

How Do Poinsettias Get Their Crazy Array Of Colors

Poinsettias are known for their festive colors, which include the common red, white, and variations of pink. But have you ever wondered how they get their unique and vibrant hues? In this article, we will delve into the interesting world of poinsettia colors and how breeders have been able to create such a wide array of shades.

The Role of Genetics and Breeding

Poinsettia breeders, like those at Ecke and Holsinger, have spent years perfecting new varieties with different colors. They start with the original poinsettia, which has bright red leaves. By introducing new genes and crossing different plants, breeders are able to create new varieties with a wider color range.

One of the most popular poinsettia varieties is the “Carousel”. This unique variety features vibrant red, pink, and white flowers, resembling a colorful carousel. Another sought-after variety is the “Picasso”, which has splashes of white, pink, and red, creating a stunning masterpiece of colors.

The Role of Light and Temperature

Poinsettias require specific growing conditions to develop their colorful bracts. They need bright light during the day, followed by complete darkness for at least 12 hours at night. This light and dark cycle triggers a biochemical process that results in the vibrant colors of the bracts.

The plant’s response to light and temperature is also influenced by the time of year. Poinsettias are most commonly associated with Christmas and the holiday season, as they naturally bloom during the winter months. The shorter days and cooler temperatures of this season help initiate the color change in the poinsettias.

Adding Colors to Poinsettias

In addition to the genetic variations and natural color change, breeders can also enhance the colors of poinsettias through external means. They often use techniques like airbrushing or spraying to add extra color to the bracts. For example, the “White Star” variety has its distinctive white color thanks to a layer of paint applied to the bracts.

Another method used by breeders is grafting. They may graft different varieties of poinsettias together to create a stunning rainbow effect, where each bract displays a different color.

Caring for Poinsettias

To keep your poinsettias healthy and vibrant, there are a few important care practices you should follow. Make sure to place your poinsettias in a location where they receive plenty of bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them near drafts or vents that could cause temperature fluctuations.

Watering is crucial for poinsettias, but be careful not to overwater. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, and always empty any excess water from the saucer to prevent root rot. Regularly fertilize your poinsettias with a balanced fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

With proper care, your poinsettias will continue to brighten up your home during the holidays and beyond. Remember to enjoy their colors and unique variations as you admire these beautiful plants.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Poinsettias are a common holiday plant that adds a festive touch to your home decor. With their vibrant colors and unique variety, poinsettias are a popular choice for Christmas decorations. However, caring for these plants requires some special attention to ensure they stay healthy throughout the holiday season.

Light and Temperature

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and prefer an average temperature between 65-75°F (18-24°C). They should be placed in a well-lit area without direct sunlight. Too much light can cause the leaves to fade, while too little can lead to weak, leggy growth.

Watering and Fertilizing

Poinsettias should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot. It’s best to water the plant thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain out. Applying a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks will help to keep the plant healthy and promote growth.

Note: Do not let the plant sit in standing water or become waterlogged, as this can lead to root rot and other diseases.

Avoiding Cold and Frost

Poinsettias are sensitive to cold temperatures and frost. When transporting or purchasing a poinsettia during the winter, be sure to wrap it in protective covering to shield it from the cold air. At home, keep the plant away from drafty areas and avoid placing it near windows or doors that may let in cold air.

Color Options

Poinsettias are available in a wide array of colors, including red, white, pink, and even variegated varieties. The most common and iconic color is red, which is often associated with Christmas. However, breeders have developed new options, such as the “Whitestar” and “Carousel” varieties, which feature unique colors like pastel pink or bicolor petals.

Note: The colorful part of a poinsettia is not actually a flower but a specialized leaf called a bract.

When caring for poinsettias, it’s important to know that they are not long-lasting plants and may start to drop their colorful bracts after the holidays. However, with proper care, they can be encouraged to grow and rebloom the following year.

In conclusion, poinsettias can make a beautiful addition to your holiday decor. By providing them with the right amount of light, water, and temperature, you can ensure that your poinsettias stay healthy and vibrant throughout the holiday season.


When it comes to caring for poinsettias, there are a few things you should keep in mind. These beautiful plants come in a variety of colors, from classic red to pink, white, and even rainbow varieties. To keep your poinsettias looking their best throughout the holiday season, here are some tips:


One of the most important aspects of poinsettia care is watering. These plants require regular watering, but you must be careful not to overwater them. Make sure the soil is moist but not soggy. If the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water. However, avoid letting the plants sit in standing water, as this can lead to root rot.


Poinsettias love bright, indirect light. They thrive in a sunny window or near a bright light source, but avoid placing them in direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch. If you notice the leaves turning yellow or brown, it may be a sign that your poinsettias are getting too much light.

TIP: If you want to add more color to your poinsettias, try placing a colored foil or ribbon around the base of the plant. This will create a festive look and make your poinsettias stand out even more.

Frost and Cold

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and prefer warm temperatures. They are tropical plants and can be damaged by frost or cold drafts. If you live in a cold climate, make sure to keep your poinsettias away from drafts and cold windows. The best temperature range for poinsettias is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

TIP: To protect your poinsettias from frost, cover them with a blanket or bring them indoors on cold nights.


To keep your poinsettias healthy, remove any faded or wilted flowers. This will encourage new growth and ensure that your plant looks its best throughout the holiday season.

TIP: Poinsettias are not just for Christmas! With proper care, they can last for several months and add a touch of color to your home even after the holidays are over.

Unique Varieties

While the most common poinsettia is the classic red variety, there are several unique and colorful options to choose from. Breeders have developed poinsettias in a rainbow of colors, including pink, white, and even airbrushed designs. If you’re looking for something different, try the Picasso or Whitestar varieties.

TIP: Did you know that poinsettias are not grown from seeds? They are actually grown from cuttings, which is why they are so consistent in color and shape.

Zones and Planting

Poinsettias are tender perennials that are typically grown as indoor plants. They are suitable for USDA plant hardiness zones 9-11. If you live in a colder climate, you can still enjoy poinsettias during the holidays by planting them in pots or containers and bringing them indoors when the weather turns chilly.

TIP: If you’re considering planting poinsettias outdoors, keep in mind that they are sensitive to temperature changes and may not survive in colder climates.

Overall, poinsettias are popular holiday plants that can add a splash of color to your home during the festive season. With proper care and attention, they can thrive and bring joy to your holiday décor.

If you still have questions about poinsettia care, be sure to reach out to a local nursery or university extension office for expert advice.

✿ Read More About Houseplants.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.