Top Tips for Taking Care of Poinsettias Outdoors


When it comes to gardening, the poinsettia is a common sight in many gardens around the world, especially during the Christmas season. These beautiful plants, known for their vibrant red, white, or pink leaves, can bring a touch of color to any garden. However, in order to keep them healthy and make them last, it is important to know how to properly care for poinsettias outside.

Poinsettias are native to Central America and Mexico and were brought to the United States in the 1800s. They have been commercially grown since the early 1900s and can now be found in many different zones across the country. Poinsettias are not only sold as potted plants during the Christmas season, but they can also be planted outside and grown as a perennial in certain regions.

One important tip for caring for poinsettias outside is to choose the best location for them. Poinsettias need bright, filtered light in order to thrive. They should be placed in a spot where they can receive at least six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day. It is also important to make sure that the location has good drainage and does not become waterlogged, as poinsettias do not like to sit in wet soil.

If you want your poinsettias to continue flowering, it is important to consistently meet their specific needs. Poinsettias prefer a daytime temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and a nighttime temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). They are also sensitive to cold drafts and cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). In order to prevent cold damage, it may be necessary to bring poinsettias inside during the winter months, especially in colder regions.

Watering is another important aspect of caring for poinsettias outside. It is best to water them thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, while underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and drop. It is also important to avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can lead to a fungal disease called Poinsettia Leaf Spot.

Pruning is also necessary to keep poinsettias looking their best. Pinch back the tips of the plants every four to six weeks in order to encourage bushier growth and more flowers. Pruning also helps to maintain the overall shape of the plant. When pruning, be sure to wear gloves, as the white sap that is produced by poinsettias can cause skin irritation.

In conclusion, caring for poinsettias outside requires attention to detail and consistent care. By providing the right environmental conditions, watering appropriately, and pruning as needed, you can keep your poinsettias healthy and help them to continue flowering throughout the Christmas season and beyond.

Issue January 15 2000

If you’ve kept your poinsettias inside this winter, it’s time to start thinking about moving them outdoors. Poinsettias are native to Central America, where they grow as large, multistemmed shrubs that can reach up to 10 feet tall. In their natural habitat, they thrive in filtered light and temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F.

When buying poinsettias, look for healthy plants with lots of colourful bracts and small, yellow flowers in the center. Poinsettias need a location where they’ll receive a good amount of sunlight, around 6 hours daily. They cannot tolerate cold drafts, so choose a spot that is protected from wind and frost.

In early summer, after the danger of frost has passed, poinsettias can be planted outdoors. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the poinsettia, and place the plant in the hole. Water it well and add some organic matter to the soil. Poinsettias prefer a well-draining soil that’s slightly acidic.

Throughout the summer and autumn, poinsettias need to be kept watered regularly. They like to be kept slightly moist, but be careful not to overwater. During this time, you may want to pinch back the plants to encourage bushier growth. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer to help them thrive.

As fall approaches, you’ll need to pay attention to the amount of daylight your poinsettias are receiving. To ensure they’ll rebloom for the next season, they need at least 10 weeks of darkness each day. From mid-September until the end of October, you’ll need to place your poinsettias in a dark room or cover them with a box every evening. During the day, they still need plenty of filtered light. This exposure to darkness will force the plants into dormancy, which is needed for them to produce their iconic bracts and flowers.

Once the holiday season is over and the plant feels its habitat is right, you will start to see colourful bracts forming. Thomas and Marisa have a few more tips: Be sure to check the soil moisture regularly and water when needed; do not let the soil become too dry. Bring poinsettias back indoors before temperatures drop below 50 degrees F, as they cannot tolerate cold weather.

And that’s how you take care of poinsettias outdoors!

Can I plant poinsettia and Christmas cacti outside

While poinsettias and Christmas cacti are commonly kept as indoor plants during the holiday season, they can also be planted outside if you live in the right climate. In fact, in some zones, like USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11, poinsettias can be grown as perennials, coming back year after year.

When planting poinsettias or Christmas cacti outside, it’s important to choose the right location. These plants prefer bright, filtered sunlight, so find a spot with partial shade. They also need well-draining soil, so make sure it’s not too heavy or clayey. If the soil is too compact, consider adding organic matter to improve drainage.

The ideal temperature range for poinsettias is between 60-70°F (15-21°C), so be sure to plant them after the danger of frost has passed, typically in spring. In colder regions, you can try planting them as annuals, but keep in mind that they may not survive the winter. If you wish to continue growing them over the winter months, it is best to bring them indoors or into a protected area.

Christmas cacti, on the other hand, are more tolerant of cooler temperatures, usually down to around 50°F (10°C). They can be planted outside in a location that offers protection from direct sunlight and cold drafts. However, because Christmas cacti are epiphytes that grow naturally on trees, they can also be grown in containers and brought indoors during colder months.

When planting poinsettias and Christmas cacti outside, be sure to give them enough space to grow. Poinsettias, in particular, can become quite large, reaching heights of up to 10 feet (3 meters). Regular pruning can help keep them more compact.

Both poinsettias and Christmas cacti prefer consistent watering. They should be kept evenly moist, but not overly saturated. Watering from the bottom is recommended. Be sure to provide good drainage, as these plants are susceptible to root rot if the soil stays too wet.

It’s important to note that poinsettias and Christmas cacti may not flower as prolifically when grown outside compared to indoors. Their blooming is often triggered by specific daylight exposure periods, which can be more difficult to control in an outdoor environment.

In colder regions, overwintering poinsettias and Christmas cacti can be a challenge. In Illinois, for example, the temperatures often drop below freezing, which can damage the plants. To ensure their survival, it’s best to bring them indoors or provide protection during frosty nights.

In summary, poinsettias and Christmas cacti can be planted outside in certain climates, but they may not thrive as well as they do indoors. It’s important to create a suitable environment with proper sunlight, soil drainage, and temperatures. Always reference care guides and local gardening references for specific advice based on your geographical location.

How To Care For Poinsettias Outside

Poinsettias are common plants associated with Christmas and are typically found indoors during the holiday season. However, with proper care, poinsettias can also thrive outdoors. In this article, we will discuss the necessary steps to care for poinsettias outside during the winter months.

Choosing the Right Location

When deciding to move your poinsettia plant outside, it is crucial to find the right location. Poinsettias thrive in full exposure to sunlight, so choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Avoid areas that are exposed to strong winds as it can damage the delicate leaves and stems.

Watering and Soil

In warmer regions, like Georgia or the desert, poinsettias can be watered more frequently. However, ensure that the soil is well-drained to prevent root rot. In colder regions, water your poinsettia plant sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering. Remember, overwatering is a common issue that can cause the plant’s roots to rot.

Protection From Cold Temperatures

Poinsettias are sensitive to cold temperatures; exposure to frost can damage or even kill the plant. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, cover your poinsettia with a cloth or move it indoors during the night. The ideal temperature range for poinsettias is between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 21 degrees Celsius).

Pruning and Care

Pruning is essential to keep your poinsettia plant healthy and full. During early autumn until spring, trim away any dead or damaged leaves to encourage new growth. If the plant becomes leggy or too large, you can also prune it to maintain its shape and size.

Common Problems and FAQs

Problem Solution
Leaf drop Ensure the plant is not exposed to sudden temperature changes or drafts. Water the plant properly and place it in a suitable location with adequate sunlight.
Powdery mildew Avoid overwatering and reduce humidity levels around the plant. Apply fungicides if necessary.
Yellowing leaves Usually a sign of overwatering; allow the soil to dry out between waterings and ensure proper drainage.
Dropping bracts Bracts may drop as a natural part of the plant’s cycle. Ensure proper care and environmental conditions.

In conclusion, caring for poinsettias outside can be done successfully with the right environmental conditions and proper care. By following these tips and guidelines, you can enjoy healthy poinsettias during the winter season.

✿ Read More About Houseplants.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.