Skip to content

Resources / the blog

Red and pink poinsettias inside of a Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Tips for Keeping Your Poinsettias Alive All Year

Apr 29, 2024

Tips for Keeping Your Poinsettias Alive All Year

Poinsettias aren't just temporary fixtures during the holiday season. As a matter of fact, with proper care and maintenance your poinsettias can flourish year-round. So, instead of parting ways with these vibrant plants, consider giving them a new lease on life by transferring and keeping them in your Yoderbilt Greenhouse!

Poinsettias in a small decorative sleigh inside of a Yoderbilt Greenhouse with patterned floors

By providing a controlled environment conducive to their growth, and avoiding the messiness of shedding in your home, you can nurture your poinsettias into the next season; ensuring their beauty graces your home (or greenhouse) year after year. Late last fall, we introduced you to the idea of overwintering them in your greenhouse.

But, now that it’s April, it’s time to start prepping them to be in full color for your next holiday season. With proper care, these colorful symbols can bloom again in all their glory for Christmas. Here are the steps we follow to prepare our overwintered poinsettias for a spectacular display this next year. And, there is even more beauty in keeping them, you will not have to purchase them over and over again.

1. Assessing the Plants

Since Christmas, I decreased my watering routine to reflect the plant’s reduced growth rate. I allowed the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot but also provided them with enough water to keep them from completely drying out. After the holidays, I continued to enjoy them by keeping them placed throughout my greenhouse. Then, around February, I put mine on a greenhouse gardening table on the back northeast wall of my greenhouse. I then allowed them to "rest" with necessary watering as described from then until mid-April.

They look pretty scraggly by the time April arrives but that’s expected and it’s the month I begin preparing for next Christmas. Before anything else, inspect your poinsettias for signs of growth and health. Discard any diseased plants. Look for new shoots and healthy green leaves. Trim away any dead or leggy growth to encourage bushier growth. Remove any faded or yellowing leaves, as well as spent blooms, using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. I took mine outside to a gardening table and completed this step to avoid making a mess in my greenhouse.

An image of a person holding a small gold watering can watering poinsettias inside of a Yoderbilt greenhouse

2. Repotting if Necessary

If your poinsettias have outgrown their pots during the winter, it's time to repot them. Choose a slightly larger pot with good drainage. Use a well-draining potting mix rich in organic matter. I water them well and let them soak it up for a while before starting the repotting process. Gently remove the plant from its current container, being careful not to damage the roots. Place it in the new container and fill around it with fresh soil, pressing in firmly but gently around the base. You can uppot them to individual containers, but I do like grouping several of them together to allow for a dramatic display for Christmas.

3. Summer Care

Poinsettias thrive in warm, sunny conditions but appreciate some protection from direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. I typically keep mine in their new containers on the floor of the back north wall of my Yoderbilt. Currently, I have them sitting on a gardening table but will make room for them on the floor. I do have a 70% Aluminet shade cloth in my greenhouse and the gardening table shadows allow for additional shade.
From this point on, you will again water your poinsettias regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Avoid letting the soil become waterlogged or completely dried out.

In preparation for the next holiday season, you will begin to fertilize your poinsettias every two to three weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength. This will encourage healthy growth and blooming.

4. Pruning and Pinching

Throughout the summer, pinch back the growing tips of your poinsettias to encourage branching and bushiness. This will result in a fuller, more compact plant. I have both pinched and allowed to grow huge, so do whatever fits your space and plan the best.

Continue to remove any dead or yellowing leaves to maintain plant health.

5. Transitioning to Fall

As summer transitions to fall and temperatures begin to drop, gradually reduce watering to allow the plants to enter a period of dormancy. This will help trigger blooming.

Around late September to early October, depending on your climate, it's time to initiate the photoperiod treatment to induce flowering. Poinsettias require long, uninterrupted periods of darkness (about 12-14 hours) each night for several weeks to initiate flower bud formation. Cover the plants with a lightproof cloth or place them in a completely dark room from evening until morning.

I will be honest, I have never covered my poinsettias as I’ve kept them in my Yoderbilt year-round and I’ve always had their transition be absolutely gorgeous by the time the end of November arrives. But, again, I keep them on the floor of the north back wall of my greenhouse with shade cloth on from mid-spring through mid-fall.

Close up of poinsettias bloomed that have been pruned

6. Colorful Transformation

As the days shorten and the photoperiod treatment takes effect, you'll notice changes in your poinsettias. Buds will form, and the leaves may begin to take on their characteristic red, pink, or white coloration, depending on the variety.

Continue the photoperiod treatment until the bracts (the colorful leaves mistaken for flowers) are fully developed and vibrant, typically by early to mid-December. Again, those are the standard recommendations, although I experimented and found I didn’t have to go that route.

In conclusion, with careful attention and proper care throughout the summer and fall, your overwintered poinsettias can once again become the focal point of your holiday décor. By following these steps, you'll ensure that your poinsettias bloom brilliantly, bringing festive cheer to your home this Christmas season. And, a bonus is the ability to watch the transformation up close – it’s a truly exciting process to witness all of the stages.

Happy greenhouse gardening!

Connect with Yoderbilt