How to Propagate a Poinsettia Plant

Hi Judy,
I want to know if I can take cuttings from my poinsettia plant and start new plants. I don’t know how to do that, and I don’t want to hurt my poinsettia. I am attaching pictures. Thank you – Debra

Hi Debra,

Red poinsettia plant

Poinsettia Plant
Picture by André Karwath

Poinsettia plants are propagated by stem cuttings, but it is not always successful. Here is how it’s recommended that you do it.

Take cuttings from healthy new stems.  The old stems that already flowered should not be used. Cut the old stems back and allow new growth to develop. Keep the “mother” plant warm, moist, and in a bright location to produce good cuttings. Once the new stems have grown about 4-5″, you can start to take cuttings. The cuttings should be about 3 to 4 inches long  and have 2 to 3 mature leaves.

Dip the stems in a small amount of Rooting HormoneRooting Hormone helps plant cuttings produce new roots and is very important to use if you want your propagation attempts to be successful. Always dip the cut end of a stem or leaf into water and then dip it into the rooting hormone before planting it. Tap off any excess powder since too much hormone is worse than too little. before planting. I recommend using 4″ pots. Use a pencil to make holes in good moist potting soil.  Carefully insert the hormone-treated base of each cutting into the holes. Place the pots into plastic bags to increase the humidity and help the soil stay moist. Place the cuttings in a bright location, but no direct sun. bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. is important.

It usually takes about a month for roots to develop. The plant won’t “flower” this year but hopefully will next year. Wear gloves when you take cutting in case you might be sensitive to the sap in poinsettia stems.