Deck Your Halls with Poinsettias

With beautiful poinsettias, then recycle this popular container plant for seasonal splendor for years to come

Poinsettias brighten the season with their showy flowers (called bracts). But don’t leave those plants on the curb with the tree. Because of our temperate climate, they can be successfully transplanted outdoors after the holidays if the right techniques are used.

In the pot

Keep plants healthy by placing them in a warm location with plenty of light, but avoid extremely sunny, hot, and dry situations. Water when the soil becomes dry to the touch, but be careful not to over-water, this is main reason many die. Poinsettias don’t like soggy soil; so remove any excess water from the saucer beneath. Remember, this plant came from the tropical desert and is more tolerant of dry conditions than wet.

Occasionally mist the plant; this will help the bracts keep their color

In the yard

Once the danger of frost has passed, trim off the bracts Prune your plant, leaving 4 to 6 inches of stem on each branch and move the potted plants outdoors to a partly shady spot for a couple of weeks to allow them to adjust to their new environment.

Poinsettia sap may irritate your skin, so use rubber gloves whenever you are doing any pruning, pinching or cutting.


Choose an area that receives full sunlight most of the day but no light (from porch or street lights) at night. As long as your soil pH is between 5.0 and 7.0 the plants should do well. Water after planting; add mulch to retain moisture and start using a slow release fertilizer. By spring the plant should show new growth.


Outdoor plants can grow as high as ten feet and can become very leggy so regular pruning is essential. Pinching the tips will produce a bushier plant with smaller flower bracts.
Thinning the branches will produce larger flower bracts.

Do not prune after September

Starting in October, cover the plants at night (for 14 hours) to ensure vibrant bracts for the holidays, and make sure they receive six to eight houses of bright sunlight daily.

Poinsettias Are Not Poisonous!

The national poison control center says ingesting even five to six hundred leaves wouldn’t be considered toxic.

But they’re not edible either so it’s prudent to keep them away from pets and children.

Other popular holiday plants

Christmas cactus

While flowering, keep it indoors in a well lit location away from heat vents and fireplaces. Don’t over-water, plant needs to dry between waterings. Feed bi-monthly with a well-balanced fertilizer. Christmas cactus may live outside in a shady area during warmer months. To get your plant to re-bloom, deprive your cactus of light during the night beginning in late September.


Plants do best in light shade and well-drained soil. Bulbs can be planted anytime between September and January.

Plant bulbs 12 to 15 inches apart so the top of the bulb is just covered with soil, and the neck of the bulb is protruding above ground. Water newly planted bulbs and keep them moist until well-established.

Be sure to control weeds, fertilize during growing season with bulb fertilizer, and keep the soil moderately moist.

The color of the poinsettia bracts ranges from red to pink to white. Over the years breeders have even developed orange, purple and multi colored poinsettias

Outdoor Poinsettia Cultivars

Red Pink White Novelty Varieties
Freedom Maren White Christmas Winter Rose
Orion V-14 PInk Whitestar Sonora Burgundy
Prestige Flirt Cortez White Plum Pudding
Red Velvet Noblestar Sonora white Marblestar
Success Red Cortex Pink Jingle Bells
Max Red Holly Point
Red Splendor Monet Twilight
Picachio Carousel
Silverstar Series