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Are you wondering what to do with poinsettias after Christmas? Most people just simply throw them away, but you can keep them growing and even help them rebloom for the following holiday season! Keep reading to discover what to do, month by month, with your poinsettia plants after the holiday season is over.
It may surprise you learn that poinsettia plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) can grow larger than 10 feet tall in their native environment.
They are native to Mexico, but they have become naturalized in many other areas. I remember seeing them in Hawaii and they were at least 10 feet tall.
They’re not the prettiest at this size since they are pretty sparse with foliage, and certainly a far cry from the ones we see for sale during the holidays!
Most people throw them away after the holidays, but you can keep them for years to come.
MONTH BY MONTH POINSETTIA PLANT CARE AFTER CHRISTMAS TIME
If you’d like to keep your poinsettia growing and alive after the holidays, and perhaps even rebloom it the following season, here is what you can do.
If your poinsettia has gotten a little scraggy, don’t worry. I will describe what to do about that as well.
Here is a month by month account of how to care for your poinsettia:
1. JANUARY THROUGH MARCH
The first thing that you should do after the holidays, if you haven’t done so already, is to remove the decorative, shiny, exterior foil wrapping around the pot.
Yes, it’s pretty, but it can also cause some issues. I’m referring to water collecting at the bottom. Poinsettias do not like to sit in water and require great drainage.
So by all means, discard of the foil wrapping and and excess water that may have accumulated.
After you’ve done that, it’s time to place your poinsettia in front of your sunniest window indoors.
You should pay special attention to watering at this point. Poinsettia plants detest drying out completely, but they also need to dry out a bit between watering.
A good rule of thumb is to simply allow the top inch or so of the potting mix to dry out. At that point, water it thoroughly, allow excess water to drain away, and keep repeating this watering process year-round.
If your plant has lost a lot of leaves from drying out too much, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered in the next step.
2. APRIL AND MAY
If you like the look of your plant and want it to grow taller, just provide routine care at this point. Start fertilizing your poinsettia at this point and continue throughout all of spring, summer and fall.
I use Dyna-Gro Grow (link to Amazon) for most of my indoor plants and this is a great fertilizer. Simply use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at every watering.
If you prefer a more compact look, or if your plant has lost a lot of foliage and looks a little scraggly, it’s time to prune your plant. Trim all the branches back to about 6 inches long.
Be sure to wear gloves when you prune, since the plant’s sap can cause irritation to your skin. Wash your pruners immediately after pruning as well since the poinsettia sap will dry and make your pruners sticky.
Go ahead and pot your plant up into the next largest pot size that is 2 inches larger in diameter than the previous pot.
Let your plant continue growing in its sunny window, and continue routine watering and fertilizing with Dyna-Gro Grow. Soon, you should notice new growth.
3. JUNE THROUGH SEPTEMBER
If you really want your poinsettia plant to look the best it can by the time the next holiday rolls around, when it gets warm outside, its time to place your plant outdoors.
You need to acclimate your plant slowly outdoors though. Even though your plant has been growing in a sunny window indoors, the light intensity of direct sun outside is much stronger, so follow these steps to acclimate your plant so that it doesn’t suffer any sun scald:
- When minimum temperatures outside are consistently at least 55°F (13°C) or warmer, place your poinsettia in a spot outdoors in FULL SHADE at first. Keep your plant there for a week.
- After a week, give your plant maybe 1-2 hours of morning sun per day. Do this for a few days.
- Then gradually increase the amount of full sun until your plant is in a spot that gets full sun. Start with only morning sun since it is gentler, and then start adding afternoon sun.
You can NOT acclimate your plant too slowly. But if you do it too quickly, your plant will burn. Poinsettias love full sun outdoors, but you just have to acclimate them slowly enough.
If you don’t have an outdoor space, or if you just want to leave your plant indoors, that’s fine too. Growth will not be as luxuriant, but your plant will continue to grow.
4. OCTOBER THROUGH DECEMBER
If you’ve placed your plant outdoors for summer, it’s time to bring your plant back indoors before minimum temperatures start to go below 55°F (13°C). You’ll want to preventatively treat your poinsettia for pests, and then bring it indoors.
Starting at the very beginning of October, this is where you will work to provide the right conditions so your plant blooms again and develops its characteristic, colorful bracts.
They come in various colors including the most common red, but there are also white, peach, pink, and even multi-colored plants.
The colorful bracts will develop in response to shorter days.
Starting October 1st, you’ll need to give your plant 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night. You can do this by placing a box over your plant for 14 hours, or move it to a dark location such as a closet.
After the 14 hours of darkness each evening, move your plant back to its sunny window. Do this for 10 weeks, and your plant will develop the beautiful, colorful bracts once again.
Your poinsettia may not be as big, beautiful and lush as the ones grown in commercial greenhouses, but it will be beautiful nonetheless, especially knowing that you worked to produce the results!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on what to do with poinsettias after Christmas. Have you tried keeping a poinsettia year-round? Comment below. I’d love to hear!
Saturday 3rd of June 2023
I noticed that you didn't recommend a type of mix for repotting (unlike your String of Turtles article!). Any suggestions?
Monday 5th of June 2023
Hi Teresa! You can just use an all-purpose mix (about 3 parts) and throw in some perlite or pumice for drainage (1 part). You can even throw in some orchid bark if you'd like. Only go up one pot size each time you repot.