The poinsettia grows by cutting

Poinsettia: care and pruning of the winter plant from A-Z

Open profile and care informationclose
Flower color
Partial shade, sunny
January, February, November, December
Growth habit
upright, annual, perennial
up to 6 m high (in their homeland), here more 60 to 80 cm high
Soil type
sandy, loamy
Soil moisture
moderately dry, moderately moist, fresh
PH value
weakly acidic
Limescale tolerance
n / a
rich in humus
Plant families
Spurge Family, Euphorbiaceae
Plant species
Indoor plants, ornamental plants, container plants, balcony plants, potted plants
Garden style
Conservatory, ornamental garden

Every year it appears in numerous specialty shops and even supermarkets. We are talking about the poinsettia, botanically also called Euphorbia pulcherrima, which enjoys great popularity year after year during the Christmas season. But what kind of care does the milkweed plant actually need?

Poinsettias are perennial plants native to South America. The bush-like growth of a height of up to six meters in the home is rarely found here, because we cultivate the poinsettia as a container plant. In many cases, the poinsettia in this country only lasts one Advent season.

This is a shame, because with the right care, the graceful plant can easily last for a few years.


  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Genus: Wolfsmich (Euphorbia)
  • perennial shrub from South America
  • maximum growth height up to six meters
  • popular in Germany, especially at Christmas
  • inconspicuous flowers, strongly showy bracts
  • sensitive and demanding
  • needs a warm, light place but no sunlight
  • Milky juice is slightly toxic
  • the best location has a temperature of 15-22 degrees


As a rule, the poinsettia ends up on a windowsill in this country, but as a sensitive plant it is not in good hands there. Poinsettias are usually sold already potted in the Advent season, so that only a place has to be found.

A warm location (up to 22 degrees) where the sun shines for less than 12 hours a day is ideal. Direct sunlight must be avoided, and the poinsettia does not like drafts.

The plant does not feel comfortable on or in the immediate vicinity of radiators. Contrary to popular belief, the windowsill is not a suitable place for a Euphorbia pulcherrima. There is a draft here, it is too sunny and the heating is also in the immediate vicinity.

Requirements for the location at a glance:

  • bright, warm location
  • no direct sunlight
  • Avoid drafts
  • no direct proximity to heating
  • Windowsill is unsuitable

When the poinsettia begins to grow, you should repot it. The pot that is bought in the trade is usually too small, so that a larger vessel is required.

A suitable substrate is potting soil with a certain amount of compost, which is also suitable for flowering plants. The soil should either be mixed with a little sand or a drainage system should be laid.

Fertilizing and watering

A poinsettia should never be poured too much because it is sensitive to moisture. It is not a problem if the soil of the Euphorbia pulcherrima dries up occasionally before watering again.

If the root ball is permanently too wet, the leaves begin to turn yellow and then fall off. If it is too dry, however, the poinsettia will hang its leaves, this is especially the case when there is strong sunlight.

Important watering tips

  • water only moderately, preferably more than a little
  • Before adding water, check with your finger whether the soil is still damp
  • Waterlogging must be avoided
  • the optimal method of pouring is immersing the flower pot
  • Dip should be done every seven days
  • Room temperature water is suitable for watering
  • Liquid fertilizer is suitable as a fertilizer for flowering plants
  • Fertilization every two weeks is sufficient

Tip: Since the plant substrate is often of inferior quality when you buy it, you should repot the plant after the first flowering.


Proper care of the poinsettia begins with the purchase and transport. When buying, make sure to buy a plant that has not been outside in the cold. As a result, the temperature difference in the apartment would cause the plant to shed all of its leaves.

You should also ensure that the Euphorbia pulcherrima is transported gently during transport. The sensitive southerners cannot tolerate the cold, so you need to provide a warm environment. You can drastically increase the service life with these simple measures.

The most important things when buying and transporting

  • wrap the plant warm for transport
  • check the soil in the pot before buying
  • Do not buy dried out or soaked plants
  • healthy poinsettias have green leaves with brightly colored bracts
  • yellow leaf spots indicate care errors

Diseases and pests

Poinsettias are very sensitive to prolonged moisture, the leaves are thrown off. Even if the environment is too cold, the plant reacts this way. When properly cared for, poinsettias are sturdy plants that will enjoy long-lasting health.

In the event of care errors, however, there is a risk of smear lice infestation. Spider mites and fungus gnats can also develop if the plant is permanently in a too dry environment. Sufficient humidity must be ensured in heated rooms.

Cut back and repot

Euphorbia pulcherrima does not have to be pruned as long as the growth remains clear. However, if the growth becomes too strong, it must be pruned.

The best time has come when the star sheds its bracts. Then the resting phase starts for the plant. If you want to continue cultivating the poinsettia, repotting is also required at this point.

Brief instructions for the cut

  • Cut is made at the end of the flowering period (end of spring or beginning of summer)
  • Shoots are shortened by about half
  • Repotting is required at the end of the resting phase
  • annual repotting increases the lifespan

In summer

The poinsettia can also be preserved in summer; it is happy to have a place in the great outdoors. It should be a bright place without direct sunlight.

When the days get shorter in autumn, the flower formation of the bracts is stimulated again. If it gets too cold, the Euphorbia pulcherrima has to be brought back into the house.

At the end of autumn it is advisable to move the poinsettia to a dark location that does not get any evening lighting. This stimulates the flower formation and the plant develops into a colorful eye-catcher again.

Healthy through the summer

  • in summer, a clear space on the balcony or in the garden is advisable
  • it must not be exposed to direct sunlight
  • at temperatures below 10 degrees a move into the house is necessary
  • A dark location for six weeks stimulates flower formation
  • Poinsettia can be covered with a cardboard box in the afternoon
  • Darkness is no longer necessary when the bracts take on color


It is worthwhile if the poinsettia continues to be cultivated after flowering. Numerous specimens end up on the compost every year, and with the right care, the milkweed plant can exist for many years.

The most important tips for a long life of the poinsettia are:

  • Cut back the plant in spring
  • radical removal of the old flowers
  • new shoots must form from below
  • Sunlight must not be allowed to take place during the entire summer
  • always water moderately
  • Use room warm, soft water
  • in autumn a maximum of 11-12 hours of light
  • only in the dark do new bracts and flowers develop


The poinsettia is known in Germany as one of the most popular indoor plants. With breathtaking colors, the milkweed family is part of the Christmas season. Cultivation is not as complicated as is often thought, but a green thumb is required.

Often, however, it is not your own care measures that are to blame for early plant death, but rather storage in the shop. If an already damaged Euphorbia pulcherrima is bought, it often does not even last beyond the month of December.

In order to enjoy the poinsettia for as long as possible, a healthy plant should be purchased. The substrate must not be too dry or too wet and it is important that the plant has not been exposed to drafts.

Healthy poinsettias are more likely to be available in specialist shops than in the supermarket. It is highly recommended to find out in advance how the poinsettia stood, what weather it was exposed to and what the location conditions were.