How To Prune Your Poinsettia - Backyard Boss
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How To Prune Your Poinsettia

The poinsettia is one of the most recognizable Christmas plants, with its bright red and green leaves. Not only does it make your home look festive during the holiday season, but keeping it healthy with regular pruning will ensure that you get to enjoy this symbol of holiday cheer for many years to come!

Below, you’ll find the details for proper poinsettia care — from when and why to prune your plant and how often you should do so, to what tools are best for getting a clean cut. Plus, learn some tips on how to care for your poinsettia throughout the year!

What You’ll Need

pruning poinsettia plant
Image credits: Agnes Kantaruk via Shutterstock

Here’s what you’ll need to prune your poinsettia plant for maximum blooms.

  • Sharp, clean shears
  • Gloves
  • Fertilizer
  • Water

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Prune Your Poinsettias

Pruning your poinsettia is an essential part of keeping it healthy and flourishing. This step-by-step guide will show you how to prune your poinsettia so that it looks its best! With a few simple steps, you can easily maintain your plant’s beautiful foliage and keep it happy and healthy.

Step One- Water and Fertilize

Red poinsettia plant and a watering can for watering flowers on a white background
Image credits: Orehova via Shutterstock

As soon as your poinsettia has finished blooming, gradually reduce watering and fertilizer to help the plant enter its natural dormancy period. While the plant is dormant, give it a cool spot to rest in, like a garage.

When spring arrives, it’s time to repot your poinsettia. Refresh potting soil and increase water and fertilize again to prepare it for pruning. You can use houseplant fertilizer. Now move your plant outdoors for some much-needed morning sun.

Step Two- Prune at the Right Time

Poinsettia Plant Leaf and Flower
Image credit: manfredrichter via Pixabay

Pruning your poinsettia should start as soon as fresh growth appears during the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Remove any dead or damaged leaves and stems with a clean pair of scissors or pruners. Now choose the three to five best branches and trim to about 4 or 6 inches.

Step Three- Pinch Back the Stems

Beautiful Poinsettia in woman hands. Christmas tradition concept
Image credits: PinkCoffee Studio via Shuttestock

During the growing season, clip off any tips from the stems in order to encourage thicker foliage. This will help keep your poinsettia looking full and lush.

Step Four- Do Not Prune After September 1st

poinsettia pets
Image credits: Helen Jank via Pixabay

Once fall hits, stop pruning your poinsettia as this may interfere with its blooming cycle. Pruning after September 1st can prevent it from flowering in time for the winter season.

Caring for Your Poinsettia Plants

Caring for your poinsettia is not difficult, but it requires a bit of attention. With the right care, you can make sure this holiday classic stays vibrant and healthy throughout the season.

Your Journey Begins at the Store

Poinsettia Plants Group
Image credit: Jeffrey Hamilton via Unsplash

When purchasing your poinsettia from the store, ask them to wrap or cover it carefully in order to protect its bracts and leaves as they face very harmful low temperatures outside. That extra layer of protection is crucial for your plant, as they are incredibly sensitive to cold temperatures. Consider this small step for big results this festive time of year!

Give It Sun and Warmth

Beautiful poinsettia in pot on window sill at home, space for text. Traditional Christmas flower
Image credits: New Africa via Shutterstock

Now that you have your poinsettia, place it in the perfect spot so it can thrive. The best location is a bright window, where it will get plenty of sunlight throughout the day.

Do not place the plant too close to any drafty windows, as heat or cold air from outside could cause damage and shorten its lifespan. Additionally, keep it away from heaters and air conditioners.

The Right Temperature

Red Poinsettia with Christmas Lights
Image credit: 430177 via Pixabay

With the right temperature, these festive plants can last for months. To keep your poinsettia looking its best, place them in a room where the daytime temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and drop to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. If the nighttime temperature is hard to achieve in their room, move them into a cooler location for optimal longevity.


Poinsettia with Yellow Leaves and Yellow Cyathia Blossoms
Image credit: daledbet via Pixabay

Give it the drainage attention it needs by removing or punching holes into its decorative foil wrap. Check-in on daily water levels, and water only when the soil feels dry. Do not overwater; too much could spell disaster for this plant lover’s favorite holiday decoration.

Prune It After the Season Is Over

Poinsettia and Christmas Tree
Image credit: Ron Dauphin via Pixabay

Once the poinsettias’ blooms have faded, prune the plant. Pruning your poinsettia will help encourage healthy growth and strong new branches for the coming season.

Dark Treatment

poinsettia near window
Image credits: Fran via Pexels

Preparing these photosensitive plants for re-blooming is as easy as counting sheep! In late September or early October, place them in complete darkness each night for 12 to 14 hours. This could be a closet or cupboard. During the day, keep them near bright sunshine. Within weeks, you’ll have beautiful blooms!

In Summary

Pruning and caring for a poinsettia is an essential part of keeping it looking beautiful all year round. Prune back at the right time, water and fertilize regularly, clip off tips of stems during the growing season, repot if necessary, and do not prune after September 1st. Following these steps will ensure your poinsettia stays healthy and looking its best. Have any tips to share? Leave a comment below and share the article with your family and friends. Happy holidays!