How to Care for a Poinsettia After It Blooms

How do I care for my poinsettia after Christmas?? Can it survive until next year?

Hi Randall,


Poinsettias have long-lasting flowers so their bracts (colorful leaves that we call flowers) may last  several months with the proper care. Provide bright indirect light and be very careful not to over water! Temperature is a very important factor in poinsettia plant care. Poinsettia plants last longer and look better when the temperature is between 65°-70°F (18.3°-21.1°C) during the day and around 60°F (15.6°C) at night. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold damage the leaves and may cause leaf drop. Keep poinsettias away from drafty doors and windows, fireplaces, heaters, and the tops of appliances that give off heat.

Red poinsettias
Red Poinsettias

During late winter and early spring, leaves (side shoots) develop below the bracts. To insure a pretty, well-shaped plant for next year, cut each of the old flowering stems or branches back to 4 to 6 inches in height. Leave one to three leaves on each of the old stems, new growth will develop from buds located in the leaf axils along these stems. Cut your poinsettia back in February or early March to help the buds grow and develop better. The poinsettia is dormant at this point and needs very little water.  Keep your poinsettia in a sunny area where the temperature is between 60°-70° F (15.6°-21.1°C).


Sometime between July and August, prune all the stems to about 4″-6″  above the soil line; try to leave one to three leaves on each stem. Fertilize every two weeks with a liquid, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.


In order for the poinsettia bracts (leaves) to turn red again, the plant must be kept in complete darkness for 12-15 hours from the end of September until color shows in the bracts in early to mid-December. You may have to put the plant in a closet or cover it with a card board box, because the slightest light may prevent the bracts from developing any color. The temperature should remain between 60°-70°F (15.6°-21.1°C). Night temperatures above 70°-75°F (21.1°-23.9°C)  may delay or prevent the plant from turning red.

Hopefully you’ll have a beautiful plant next Christmas.