32 Incredible Poinsettia Care Tips You Should Know

Euphorbia Pulcherrima

Not only are Poinsettias beautiful, but they’re also the unofficial plant of the holiday season! Their green and red leaves make for striking gifts, you can place them in a window or under the Christmas tree, and did you know that they’re also incredibly easy to grow all year round?

In this article, we’ll go over Poinsettia care in greater detail so you may confidently raise this striking plant.

Continue reading to learn more about this beautiful holiday plant.

What Is A Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)?

Also called Poinsettia, the Euphorbia pulcherrima has ovate red and dark green leaves (Christmas colors!) that can add a pop of color to your holiday celebrations. While people often call the red parts of the plant the flowers, they are actually red bracts and part of the plant’s leaf structure. Poinsettias are now staples of the Christmas season in the United States.

The Poinsettia, a perennial, is a holiday plant that grows well near a sunny window or an east or west-facing window.

If you’re planning to grow these tropical plants outdoors, you’ll need to live in hardiness zones 10 to 12.

Origin And Family

This Poinsettia belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. It’s native to Mexico’s tropical regions. A striking indoor plant, the Euphorbia pulcherrima has become a favorite for many indoor growers.

These holiday plants have been around for a long time; Joel Roberts Poinsett first cataloged them in 1828 in Mexico. In the midwinter, it produces small, yellow blooms in the center of its bracts.

Where To Buy

Are you looking to buy a Poinsettia? You can find it at a nursery or home improvement store. We’ve recently had some great luck when we purchase plants through Etsy. It often gives me the chance to get some great deals from people who grow Euphorbia pulcherrima themselves.

The pricing of Poinsettias typically ranges from $15 to $35.

There are a few variegated varieties that are more expensive, but the classic version of this plant is usually in the range listed above.

Euphorbia pulcherrima Plant Size

The Euphorbia pulcherrima grows to about 2-4 feet indoors – but it can technically get much taller (up to 13 feet!). For width, it can grow to about 1-3 ft wide. This stunning perennial prefers to be placed near an east or west-facing window and is considered a moderate-to-fast grower.

Euphorbia pulcherrima Care Needs

Your Euphorbia pulcherrima, like any other houseplant, grows well when it’s taken care of. The Poinsettia loves humidity and requires slightly moist soil to grow well.

While the weather may cause watering needs to vary, you should typically water your Poinsettia when the soil’s surface is noticeably dry – typically about once a week. 

Water deeply, allowing excess water to empty the draining hole in the bottom of the pot. Similarly, in terms of light, this striking plant needs bright indirect light to keep it growing.

For more tips on proper care, check out the detailed suggestions below.

Care Difficulty

Poinsettias are often regarded as easy-to-care-for due to their light, water, and humidity requirements. If you wish to grow this fantastic plant successfully, ensure you have the correct amount of light and the proper moisture.

Read on to see the specific care needs for the Poinsettia.

Growth Rate

The Euphorbia pulcherrima plant’s growing season is all year round indoors – but they grow best during the winter months, which is likely why they’re so popular to have during the holidays.

Most Euphorbia species, including the Poinsettia, are moderate-to-fast growers.

Potting

You can usually utilize a medium pot when thinking about the pot size. For the material, you can use plastic, terracotta, or clay. One of the most important features is that it contains at least one drainage hole so that water runs out freely.

Poinsettias don’t want to sit in water, which can cause root rot (see below on how to treat). And trust us, that’s not fun.

Repotting

It’s essential to repot your Poinsettia as needed. Euphorbia pulcherrima plants grow at a relatively moderate-to-fast rate. Therefore, you can generally expect to repot every year or two.

Transplant your Poinsettia in late spring or early summer into a larger container (approximately 2 to 4 inches larger than the original pot) or a part-sun garden bed. In this larger pot, utilize a soil mix rich in organic content, such as peat moss. Make certain that your new pot has adequate drainage holes.

Soil

Poinsettia plants can grow with a standard commercial potting soil. Use three parts potting soil, two parts peat moss, and one part perlite to create your own growing medium. Your soil should be slightly moist to provide your Poinsettia with the environment it needs to thrive.

Also, adequate drainage is critical for the plant’s health to avoid disease, root rot, and other issues. Like most plants, this popular holiday plant loves good drainage.

pH

For this Poinsettia, you’ll need a soil pH of around 5.5-6.5, which is neutral to acidic. In most cases, assuming you repot every year or two, a standard commercial potting soil is somewhat similar to this.

Water

When watering the Christmas Flower, you want to aim for slightly moist soil or potting mix. To properly gauge this, you can put a finger in the soil. It’s time to water your Euphorbia when the soil is noticeably dry – typically about once a week.

Overwatering is one of the most common indoor plant killers. When in doubt, it’s usually better to underwater than overwater the Poinsettia. And always make sure you have well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.

Light

This holiday houseplant prefers at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight. Similarly, they prefer complete darkness for at least 14 hours each day.

So balance is essential. Too much light, and you may notice that its leaves start to turn pale or even bleach. If you don’t have enough light, the tiny flower buds may not bloom.

Suppose you’re worried your Euphorbia pulcherrima or other house plants aren’t getting enough light. In that case, you may need to move it closer to a window – change the window – or consider using artificial lights. 

Avoid putting your Poinsettia in direct sunlight or bright light, as this could severely damage or even kill it.

Fertilizer

An all-purpose fertilizer is ideal for the Euphorbia pulcherrima. Whenever the plant isn’t flowering, you should plant to feed it once every other month.

In winter, you don’t need to fertilize, especially if the plant is in bloom. Simulate the nutrients Poinsettias would generally obtain from Mexico, many of which are available in the soil. 

Humidity Needs

Poinsettias want moderate to high humidity – typically 50-70% high. A humidifier may be necessary, especially in the drier winter months.

Temperature

Generally, room temperature is best for your Poinsettia plant, thriving in a temperature range of 65 to 70. That said, it can survive in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Night temperatures are something to consider as well. Flowering may be delayed or prevented altogether if nighttime temperatures are too warm (70-75 degrees Fahrenheit).

The more significant consideration for this striking plant is consistency. Sudden temperature changes can seriously damage the Euphorbia pulcherrima. Keep them away from vents, drafty windows, cold drafts, and openings that may allow chilly air in. And be sure that they don’t directly touch cold window panes.

Flowers

The Euphorbia pulcherrima can produce insignificant yellow flowers at the center of the bracts in mid-winter. 

Poinsettias are classified as “short day” plants. This means that they must encounter days with less than 12 hours of daylight to develop poinsettia flowers. Most Poinsettia variants require eight to ten weeks of short days to flower.

Toxicity

Poinsettias are mildly toxic to people and pets. The milky sap can cause skin irritation, as well as oral and stomach pain if ingested. Pets may vomit or have mild diarrhea. Typically, consuming poinsettia leaves is not considered life-threatening.

Care TypeCare Specifics
Botanical NameEuphorbia pulcherrima
Common NamePoinsettia, Christmas Flower
Plant Familyspurge family, also called Euphorbiaceae
OriginMexico
Plant Typeperennial
Leaf Shapeovate
Leaf Colorgreen and red (Christmas colors!)
Recommended Home Placementnear an east or west-facing window
Growth Ratemoderate-to-fast
Lightbright indirect light
Soilstandard commercial potting soil
When To WaterWater when the soil is noticeably dry - typically about once a week.
When To Fertilizeonce every other month during growing season
Preferred pH5.5-6.5
Humidity Range50-75%
Toxic To Pets?Yes - symptoms include mild irritation to mouth, skin and stomachs - may sometimes cause vomiting
Common Pests & DiseasesSpider mites, fungus gnats, white flies, scale insects, aphids, mealybugs, brown leaf tips, powdery mildew, downy mildew, yellow leaves, root rot, dropping leaves

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Euphorbia pulcherrima is a plant that’s resistant to several bugs, issues, and diseases. Here are some of the pests you should still look out for, though.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites are pretty widespread, and Poinsettia is particularly vulnerable. Spider mite damage appears on the Euphorbia’s leaves as tiny brown or yellow patches. You might also see webbing.

Start by spraying down your Poinsettia with water from a sink nozzle. This dislodges the spider mites from the plant. If the first method fails, an insecticidal oil such as neem oil will serve you well.

Brown Leaf Tips

If the tops of your Poinsettia start to turn brown, it’s usually a warning sign that your humidity isn’t high enough. It could be a sign that your plant is getting too much direct sunlight.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat larvae, not the fungus gnats themselves, consume your Euphorbia roots. Fungus gnats lay their eggs in continuously moist soil. 

It’s also the ideal place for fungus gnat eggs because Euphorbia pulcherrima favors slightly moist.

If you observe these gnats, start by reducing the amount you water. Not enough to kill the plant, but just enough to lengthen the period between waterings.

If the problem persists, make a solution of one cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and four cups of water and spray it on the filth.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungus on your Poinsettia caused by heat and poor air circulation. It is identified by its grey or white spots on infected leaves or flowers. Fungicides and fans will help you defeat this nasy fungus.

White Flies

Whiteflies are gnat-like pests that feed on the sap of your plants. They may be drawn to the Poinsettia. They lay their eggs on leaves, and then the larvae hatch and start devouring your plants.

Whitefly control frequently necessitates the use of a pesticide.

Neem oil and other horticultural oils are beneficial. This cure will kill whiteflies at all phases of development and discourage the growth of black sooty mold on your Poinsettia.

Aphids

Aphids can consume the leaves and cause black and brown spots.

To cure aphids, use an insecticidal soap or neem oil, or make your own with a dish detergent like Ivory Liquid.

Look for a product that is free of perfumes and other potentially harmful components. Combine the soap and water (starting with one teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Spray the plants thoroughly, including the bottoms of the leaves

Scale Insects

Scale insects can look like lumps on the stems of your Poinsettia. The small bugs usually stay put once they’ve latched on to a plant.

If your infestation isn’t too severe — on a single plant or portion of a single plant — you can apply a teaspoon of neem oil in water to help discourage fresh scale insects from attacking your magnificent plant.

While neem oil and other horticultural oils do not destroy everything, they do cause some damage. Another option is to introduce predators of scale insects, such as the terrible ladybug.

Drooping Leaves

Mealybugs or downy mildew, both known to affect the Euphorbia pulcherrima, can cause this. These problems can also be caused by overwatering and fertilization issues.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs may infest your Euphorbia pulcherrima. If you find mealybugs – often identified by their white fluff – we recommend you act promptly. Take a cotton swab dipped with rubbing alcohol and rub it over the leaves. The mealybugs should fall off the leaves. Neem oil mixed with water also works well as a prophylactic spray.

Yellow Leaves

Several factors can cause a Poinsettia plant’s leaves to turn yellow. It could be that it doesn’t get enough sunlight or gets too much or too little water.

Photo by Tom Glasgow in ncsu.edu

Root Rot

Poinsettia is prone to root rot if overwatered. An overabundance of water mainly causes this perplexing and frequently fatal condition. The best way to protect your plant from root rot is to closely check the amount of water it receives.

Similar Plants

Love the colorful bracts of the Poinsettia? There are several holiday plants with similar colors that you should check out. 

Coleus Chocolate Covered Cherry: This lovely plant has oblong serrated leaves and a brilliant array of hues, including a red rose center encircled by deep mahogany red lines and edged in narrow green margins.

Christmas Cactus: This popular, winter-flowering houseplant complements almost any indoor decor. Christmas cactus is easy to care for and propagates easily, making it an ideal contender for holiday gift-giving.

Red or Pink Anthurium: This type of anthurium, sometimes known as the flamingo flower, is known for its red, plastic-like blossoms. The heart-shaped, glossy, and waxy huge crimson spathe is heart-shaped, lustrous, and waxy.

Phalaenopsis Orchid: These orchid species, often known as moth orchids, are easy to care for and bloom for most of the year. There are many different colors of orchids, ranging from the white orchid to the pseudo-blue orchids that are becoming more popular in retailers. Even if you’re new to orchid cultivation, you’ve probably seen a Phal before.

Euphorbia Pulcherrima Red Christmas Flowers

Conclusion

Euphorbia pulcherrima is a beautiful ornamental plant that looks stunning inside. With its bright red bracts and glossy tropical green leaves – no plant says Christmas quite like a poinsettia. And if you follow our care instructions, you’ll have no trouble growing this Euphorbia.

Have you got a unique Poinsettia and want to show the world? We want to see it! Please submit photos to devri@twopeasinacondo.com so that we can share them on our blog.

Patrick Chism

Patrick likes to pretend that urban gardening is just a hobby, but he’s actually prepping for the apocalypse. He’s a practical grower, specializing in hydroponics systems and grow lights. His dream is to one day feed his family with just the food he grows in his Chicago-based condo.

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