Caring for poinsettias correctly

Looking after a poinsettia is child's play. Follow a few simple tips and your plants will reamin stay beautiful until spring. We tell you everything you need to know about caring for poinsettias.

If you’re interested in how to care for poinsettias correctly, read on. In this blog post, you’ll find answers to the following questions from the experts at Stars for Europe:

What should I consider when buying poinsettias?

What’s the best way to transport my poinsettia?

What’s the ideal location for my poinsettia?

How do I water my poinsettia properly?

Do I need to fertilise my poinsettia?

How do I keep my poinsettia through summer?

How do I get my poinsettia to bloom again?

Some of these questions are also answered in our YouTube video “Optimal care for poinsettias”. Take a look 😊!

What should I consider when buying poinsettias?


To enjoy your poinsettia for longer, make sure you buy a good quality plant. Only buy those that meet the following criteria:

  • The poinsettia looks healthy all round. Its leaves are strong, dense and without visible damage.
  • The small flowers in the centre of the coloured bracts are still in bud.
  • The poinsettia is placed in the shop in a bright, warm place, protected from draughts.
  • The soil in the pot is moist and neither dried out nor dripping wet.

Don’t buy a shrivelled, poorly cared-for poinsettia out of pity, and steer clear of plants left outside in the cold or in the shop right next to the front door. The chances of such poinsettias recovering at home are slim.

For detailed buying tips, see our blog “Tips for buying poinsettias”.

What’s the best way to transport my poinsettia home?

Poinsettias originate from Mexico. The climate there is tropical, so these plants don’t like cold or draughts. To make sure your poinsettia doesn’t get damaged in transit, wrap it up well and bring it to a warm environment as quickly as possible.

If you buy your poinsettia in a specialist shop, they will usually have enough packaging. Be careful not to damage your plant when wrapping it, as the branches can break quite easily.

If you’re travelling by car, remember the temperature can quickly drop into a critical range for poinsettias when the engine is switched off. Under no circumstances should it be colder than 12°C for the plant.

What’s the ideal location for my poinsettia?

The ideal location for your poinsettia is bright, warm (between 15 and 22°C) and protected from draughts. Don’t place your plant next to a hot radiator, stove or fireplace and protect it from draughts and its roots getting chilled.

Want to know more? In our blog “The perfect location for your poinsettia” you’ll find answers to all the questions about the right location that we have ever come across.

How do I water my poinsettia correctly?

The short answer to the question of how to water your poinsettia properly is moderately and regularly.

Watering too much and too often is, along with cold and draughts, the most common care mistake.

Always water your poinsettia when the soil has dried out and, if in doubt, it is better to water too little than too much. Poinsettias do not like being waterlogged!

It’s also best to use soft water at room temperature for watering.

Find out the ideal time for watering, the best method and how to recognise if your poinsettia has had too much or too little water, by reading in our blog “Watering poinsettias properly”.

There you’ll find answers to all your questions about watering your plants correctly.

Do I need to fertilise my poinsettia?

If you buy your poinsettia in the weeks or months before Christmas, you don’t need to fertilise it during its first flowering period. The plants are potted in pre-fertilised soil which gives them optimum nutrients.

Only if you want to continue growing your poinsettia after the end of the flowering period does the issue of fertilising become relevant. See also the next question “How do I overwinter my poinsettia?”.

As soon as your poinsettia sprouts new leaves after a dormant period, you should start fertilising it regularly. Use a commercial liquid fertiliser for houseplants and dose it according to the instructions.

How do I overwinter my poinsettia?

Poinsettias are perennial plants. You can grow them over the summer after the flowering period and cultivate them as foliage plants.

When the flowering period is over and your poinsettia has shed its coloured bracts (usually around the end of February, beginning of March), reduce watering considerably. The dryness sends the plant into a growth pause. Towards the end of April, cut your poinsettia back to a height of about 15cm and start watering it again regularly. If necessary, now is also the right time to re-pot. Place your poinsettia in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and fertilise it about once a week with a liquid houseplant fertiliser. Your poinsettia will now develop into a beautiful foliage plant.

If the temperature is always safely above 15°C, even at night, you can keep your poinsettia outside. Just remember to bring it back indoors in time in late summer/autumn, because it doesn’t like cold.

How do I get my poinsettia to bloom again?

Over the summer, your poinsettia from last year becomes a beautiful foliage plant. But how do you get it to bloom again? Poinsettias are short-day plants. Only when the day length falls below a certain duration does the plant get the signal to form flowers. For your poinsettia to have coloured bracts again in time for Advent, it must be in complete darkness for at least 12 hours a day from around the end of September.

Completely dark means you must consistently exclude every source of light, no matter how small. Do you have a room you don’t use that is completely dark at night (i.e. there is no streetlight in front of the window)? Then you can put your poinsettia there from the end of September. Alternatively, you can put an opaque cardboard box over the plant every evening at the same time for 12 to 14 hours. Remember to remove the box every morning. If you do this consistently for about eight weeks, your poinsettia will produce new flowers and coloured bracts. As soon as the new bracts appear, you can stop darkening and move your poinsettia to a suitable place where you can see it.

However, nothing should go wrong during this time! If the light-dark rhythm is disturbed just once – even for a very short time – you can forget the whole thing! And even if it does work your poinsettia will probably not look as good as it did in the first year. It is not without reason that gardeners invest a lot of energy and all their skills every year to bring beautifully grown poinsettias with dense foliage and magnificent, colourful bracts into the shops just in time for the festive season.