How To Make Your Poinsettia Turn Red - Backyard Boss
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How To Make Your Poinsettia Turn Red

The time of year for decking your halls with festive foliage has passed, but nothing says holiday cheer like a beautiful poinsettia! Bright, cheerful, and easy to care for, poinsettias make a great addition to any home at any time of the year.

However, one challenge many people face is getting their poinsettia leaves to turn from green to bright red. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you understand what it takes for your poinsettia plant to begin the transformation process. Soon you’ll have gorgeous, red-leafed plants in no time.

What You’ll Need

Close up of Red Poinsettia
Image credits: Jeffry Surianto

Here are the tools you’ll need to turn your poinsettia leaves into their festive red signature color.

  • Poinsettia plant
  • Clean pruning shears
  • Fertilizer

Step-by-Step Guide to Make Your Poinsettia Red

This festive plant is a classic symbol of Christmas and will bring extra warmth and cheer to any home. But there’s one catch — the vibrant red hue of the leaves can be difficult to achieve without some special care.

Follow these simple steps and your beloved plant will look its best past December 25th!

Step One – Choose the Healthiest Plant

Image credits: Kristina Zemskikh via Shutterstock

When you buy your poinsettia, choose the healthiest one you can find. Inspect each plant carefully, looking for signs of wilting or yellowing of the leaves. Select a poinsettia with dark green leaves and full, colorful bracts. This will help guarantee that your poinsettia remains healthy throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Wrapping it well before taking it home will also protect its delicate nature from any winter chill.

Step Two – Dormancy Preparation

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When your poinsettia has finished blooming, it’s time to prepare the plant for dormancy. This is a crucial part if you want to see those bright red leaves again.

First, reduce watering and keep the plant in an area with temperatures between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps ensure your poinsettia will enter its dormant state and be able to bloom again next season. Also, place the plant in a spot where there are cooler temperatures at night. Aim for no more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Do this until the springtime.

Step Three – Fertilizing

Poinsettia Plant Leaf and Flower
Image credit: manfredrichter via Pixabay

Fertilizing your poinsettia is an important part of the reblooming process.

In the spring, cut the plant back to about 6 inches tall and fertilize every two weeks with a liquid, water-soluble fertilizer created for indoor plants. Mix one teaspoon of liquid fertilizer with one gallon of water. To have enough fertilizer for future use, store it in a container with a lid. This will ensure that you always have enough on hand when it’s time to feed your poinsettia.

Keep up this weekly fertilizing regimen throughout the year, especially during the spring.

Step Four – Turn Off the Lights

Poinsettia Red Leaves
Image credit: sandid via Pixabay

If you want your poinsettia to light up your holiday season, September is the time to turn off the lights. Give your plant some quality alone time by letting it rest in complete darkness for 13 hours each night. This will help it bloom and create its signature red bracts around mid-November — just in time for the festivities!

To ensure a dark enough environment, take extra precautions like hiding your poinsettia in a closet or under a box during nighttime hours. Even the littlest bit of light can disrupt its blooming process, so make sure all artificial lighting is off. Once those bright red colors have developed, you can go easy on the darkness and let it enjoy a more natural light cycle.

General Care Tips for Your Poinsettia

Caring for your poinsettia doesn’t have to be complicated. With little tips, you can keep your holiday favorite in peak condition.


Red Poinsettia with Christmas Lights
Image credit: 430177 via Pixabay

No matter the season, your poinsettia needs plenty of light to stay healthy and beautiful. For indoor poinsettias, place them in a south, east, or west window where they can receive bright daylight. If you’d like to keep your poinsettia outdoors part of the time, give it four to six hours of partial sunlight every day.


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

Temperature is one of the key components of proper poinsettia care. Aim for an indoor temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit; anything lower than 50 degrees may damage or even kill the plant.

Avoid placing poinsettias near heat ducts, fans, air conditioners, cold drafts, fireplaces, and space heaters, as these can cause fluctuations in temperature that could harm your poinsettia’s health.

Freezing temperatures will instantly kill the plant, so check outdoor temperatures before bringing it inside! This can cause the leaves to yellow.


woman florist in a greenhouse takes care of poinsettia flowers by applying fertilizers or pesticides to the soil
Image credits: Evgeny Haritonov via Shutterstock

Keep the soil of your poinsettia moist but not soggy. The best way to determine if it needs water is by feeling the soil surface with your fingers. If it feels dry, water until it runs out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. When removing the plastic or foil wrapping from around a potted poinsettia, take off any excess material so that water can drain freely from underneath the pot.

When you water your poinsettia, set the pot in a sink or bowl, and let the water run through until it comes out of the drainage hole in the bottom. Empty any excess water that collects in the saucer underneath before returning your potted poinsettia to its place. Overwatering is one of the biggest enemies when it comes to houseplants. Never allow your poinsettia to stand in standing water, as this can rot plant roots.

Do not wait too long between watering sessions. If left without enough moisture for too long, your poinsettia may wilt or show signs of distress such as yellowing leaves.

Poinsettias On Point!

Although the holidays are over, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a beautiful poinsettia plant in your home year-round! With a little patience and care, you can have gorgeous red leaves adorning your plants in no time.

By following the simple tips and tricks outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to success. Do you have any other tips or tricks for getting poinsettias to turn red? Leave a comment below and share what’s worked for you in the past. And don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends so they can get their plants looking beautiful, too! Happy blooming!