How to Take Care of a Poinsettia Indoors

How to Take Care of a Poinsettia Indoors
Gracie Owens
Gracie Owens she/her - Author at YardPrep October 01, 2023

Are you looking to bring some festive cheer into your home during the holiday season? Look no further than the poinsettia, a vibrant and iconic plant that is synonymous with Christmas. Taking care of a poinsettia indoors requires some attention to detail, but with the right knowledge and care, you can enjoy the beauty of this plant throughout the holiday season and beyond.

How to Take Care of a Poinsettia Indoors

To take care of a poinsettia indoors, place it in a bright spot away from drafts and extreme temperatures. Water it when the top inch of soil feels dry, but avoid overwatering. Provide humidity by misting the leaves or placing a tray of water nearby. Fertilize monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. Keep it away from pets as poinsettias can be toxic to them.

Choosing a Healthy Poinsettia

Before you bring a poinsettia home, it's important to choose a healthy plant that will thrive indoors. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a poinsettia:

1.1. Appearance and Condition

When assessing a poinsettia's overall health and appearance, look for a plant with full, bushy foliage and no signs of wilting or drooping. The leaves should be a vibrant green color, without any yellowing or browning.

1.2. Leaf Color

The color of the poinsettia's leaves is an important indicator of its health. Look for plants with uniformly colored leaves, without any spots or discoloration. Avoid plants with leaves that are pale or faded, as this may be a sign of stress or poor health.

1.3. Bract Condition

The bracts, or colorful leaves, are what make the poinsettia so visually striking. Check that the bracts are fully developed and have a vibrant color. Avoid plants with bracts that are wilted, damaged, or have started to fade.

1.4. Root System

While it may be difficult to inspect the roots of a poinsettia before purchasing, it's still important to choose a plant with a healthy root system. Avoid plants with roots that are brown, mushy, or have a foul odor. Healthy roots should be white or light-colored and firm to the touch.

Providing Optimal Indoor Conditions

Once you've selected a healthy poinsettia, it's crucial to create the right environment for it to thrive indoors. Here are some key factors to consider:

2.1. Temperature

Poinsettias prefer temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). Avoid placing them near drafts or in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations, as this can cause stress and damage to the plant.

2.2. Light Requirements

Poinsettias require bright, indirect light to thrive indoors. Place them near a window where they can receive plenty of natural light, but avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

2.3. Humidity Levels

Poinsettias prefer a humid environment, so it's important to maintain adequate humidity levels. You can increase humidity by placing the plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles or by using a humidifier.

2.4. Watering Techniques

Proper watering is crucial for the health of your poinsettia. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, and make sure to drain any excess water from the saucer to prevent root rot. Avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot, and under-watering, which can cause the plant to wilt.

Pruning and Maintenance

To keep your poinsettia healthy and well-maintained, regular care is essential. Here are some key maintenance tasks:

3.1. Pruning Techniques

Pruning your poinsettia will help promote bushier growth and prevent legginess. Trim back any long or straggly stems, and pinch off any dead or faded bracts. Be sure to use clean, sharp pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant.

3.2. Fertilization

Poinsettias benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks, following the instructions on the packaging. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can cause leaf burn.

3.3. Pests and Diseases

Keep an eye out for common pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites, which can infest poinsettias. If you notice any signs of pest infestation, treat the plant with an appropriate insecticide. Additionally, watch for signs of diseases such as powdery mildew or root rot, and take prompt action to address them.

Extending the Poinsettia's Blooming Period

If you want to enjoy your poinsettia's vibrant display for longer, there are a few techniques you can try:

4.1. Light Manipulation

To encourage blooming during desired times, you can manipulate the poinsettia's exposure to light. Starting around October, provide the plant with 12-14 hours of darkness each night for about 8-10 weeks. This can be achieved by covering the plant with a light-proof bag or placing it in a dark room.

4.2. Temperature Regulation

Poinsettias require cooler temperatures (around 60-65°F or 15-18°C) to initiate blooming. To promote extended blooming, avoid placing the plant in areas with high temperatures or drafts.


Taking care of a poinsettia indoors requires attention to detail and an understanding of its specific needs. By selecting a healthy plant, providing optimal indoor conditions, and maintaining regular care, you can enjoy the vibrant beauty of the poinsettia throughout the holiday season and beyond. With a little love and care, your poinsettia will be a stunning addition to your indoor decor.