How to Turn Poinsettia Plants Red

I just received a poinsettia, if you can send me more information on how to turn a Poinsettia Plant red again the following year. I would greatly appreciate the information. Thank you hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving. Diane

Hi Diane,

Here are some care tips on how to get your poinsettia to turn red again next year.

Red Poinsettias
Red Poinsettias


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!

During this time, 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 and 70 degrees.


Sometime between July and August, prune all the stems to about 4-6 inches 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 and 70 degrees. Night temperatures above 70 to 75 degrees may delay or prevent the plant from turning red.

Hopefully you’ll have a beautiful plant for Christmas.