poinsettia care

What to Do With Poinsettias After Christmas

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The holidays have ended and your enthusiasm for the season (and your Christmas spirit) are both rapidly fading. But the beauty of your poinsettias doesn’t have to!

If you’re curious about what to do with your poinsettia plant after Christmas, don’t worry. You don’t have to toss them in the trash just yet. There are plenty of ways you can continue to make use of these gorgeous flowers even after all the other decorations have been picked up and packed away in storage.

Poinsettias can be grown at any time of the year. You can continue to grow your plant even after Christmas is over – as long as you provide the proper poinsettia care and growing conditions.

Place your poinsettia in a warm, sunny window that isn’t exposed to many drafts. Make sure your plant receives at least six hours of bright, ideally indirect, sunlight each day. 

The temperatures should remain between 65 and 70 degrees during the day, dropping a bit lower to around 60 degrees at night. Just make sure it doesn’t get too cool, as this can cause the leaves of your plant to drop. 

Water regularly, providing an inch or so of water each week. 

red poinsettia

How to Care for Your Poinsettia Plant After Christmas

The care you provide your poinsettia after the holidays will be more or less the same as what you did during the more festive periods.

However, once spring rolls around, all that will change. You should care for the plant as normal until the end of March or early May. Then, start to allow it to dry out between waterings. 

In mid-April, cut the stems back to about four inches above the soil. Repot your poinsettia in a larger container with fresh potting mix. You can also cut back any parts of the plant that are faded or dead. Water thoroughly then put it back in its sunny window. 

Water only when the plant is completely dry. Once new growth appears, you can feed with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer at full-strength. Do this every two weeks.

Once nighttime temperatures remain consistently above 50 degrees, you can put the poinsettia outdoors, if you choose (though it’s also fine to keep it inside). Trim the plant again in July, removing about one inch of growth from each stem. Prune one more time in September, but this time, remove up to three inches. This will encourage side branching as long as you allow three or four leaves to remain on every shoot. 

As the fall moves in and nighttime temperatures get cooler (less than 55 degrees or so), you should bring your poinsettia back in. Continue the indoor care recommendations that you followed before.

To get your plant to bloom for Christmas, you’ll need to provide it with short day lengths. Keep the poinsettia in complete darkness from about Columbus Day to Thanksgiving. Just put it in a closet (don’t forget to water it still!) for half the day and then put it back in front of the window for the other half.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you can stop doing this and keep the plant in sunlight for six hours (at least) per day. By Christmas, your poinsettia should be blooming in full force!

Other Options for Your Poinsettia

If you’d rather not deal with caring for your poinsettia after the holidays, you don’t have to. You can always compost it! 

Just make sure you bury it well enough so pets can’t dig it out – it can be toxic – and be sure to buy a new poinsettia just in time for the holidays next year. 

See more: What does the poinsettia symbolize?

*image by MAnuta/depositphotos

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