DOs & DON’Ts of Poinsettia Care


We had a great discussion on GardenLine last week about poinsettias not being poisonous, and hopefully that spurred you to go out and get some of these beautiful Christmas plants.

Today, I want to outline all the important points of poinsettia care through the holidays. And at the bottom, there’s a link to a schedule for year-round care, so you can keep them in your landscape long after New Year’s Day.

Photo: Randy Lemmon

The DOs

  • DO use a large, roomy shopping bag to protect your plant while bringing it home.
  • DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.
  • DO provide room temperatures of 68-70° F. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia.
  • DO water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • DO fertilize your plant AFTER THE BLOOMING SEASON with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

The DON’Ts

  • DON'T expose your plant to chilling winds when transporting it.
  • DON'T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Avoid putting them near appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.
  • DON'T expose plants to temperatures below 50° F. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so avoid putting them outside during the winter months.
  • DON'T over-water your plant or allow it to sit in standing water. Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.
  • DON'T fertilize your plant when it is in bloom.

The University of Vermont Extension Service has developed a handy year-round poinsettia care plan based on reminders cleverly tied to other holidays that come along month to month.

Photo: Randy Lemmon


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