Prune the poinsettia: when and how to do it - Practical guide

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Although its scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrimaWe all know it as a poinsettia, poinsettia, christmas plant, federal star, or poinsettia. These plants, with their striking flowers and bracts of deep red color, are very popular because they bloom precisely at Christmas time. Many people think of them as annuals, but it is possible to make them survive for more than a year. For this, however, they require a lot of care, among which pruning stands out, vital in this case.

If you want to learn when and how to prune the poinsettia or poinsettia so that it can survive for longer, join us in this article.

When to prune the poinsettia

The best time to prune the poinsettia that late January. It is at this time when the plant will have already lost all its leaves, both the green ones and the red bracts. This is the point that indicates that the time has come to take the pruning shears, sterilize them and get to work. It is also possible that the plant loses only the flowers and bracts depending on the climate, in which case you can apply the pruning then.

How to prune the poinsettia or Christmas plant

As we have said, the correct pruning of this plant is totally necessary for its survival, so follow these steps as carefully as possible to learn how to prune a poinsettia or poinsettia:

  1. The first thing is prune the stems of your poinsettia. Choose four branches or stems, which will be the main ones for your plant. Cut them to the height of the third bud, which will be about 10 cm, and prune all other twigs and stems, especially if they seem weak.
  2. Once pruned, it is highly recommended seal wounds of the plant with healing paste or melted wax, which will protect the Christmas plant against diseases and pests.
  3. Then it is necessary to check how the roots of the plant are. Poinsettia roots grow rapidly, and it may be necessary a transplant in a larger container. In addition, a root pruning, trying to leave them loose so that they can develop better. After transplanting, it is advisable to fertilize and bring light to the plant.
  4. Finally, in summer, when the plant begins to put out new shoots, you must clamp each of these to stimulate their growth. There are those who recommend pinch buds again in mid-summer, especially in the highest parts of its branches, but this second clamping is optional. The more you pinch the new shoots, the more side shoots the plant will produce, and the more flowers it will produce when the time comes.
  5. In addition to all this, the poinsettia, like any other plant, needs to be regularly cleaned from dry leaves and branches or in poor condition, which slows its development and results in a waste of nutrients.

How to take care of the poinsettia until next Christmas - basic care

In addition to pruning, which is the most important thing, there are other precautions that you must take into account when it comes to getting your poinsettia survive the year until the following winter. To do this, keep in mind this guide to basic care of the Christmas plant:

Vegetative rest

On the one hand, the poinsettia needs an adequate vegetative rest, as is the case in many other plants. You need to allow it to overwinter somewhere away from heating and other artificial sources of heat, or the plant will not enter this state. At that time, space the waterings: a weekly one should be enough.

Transplants and temperature

As we have already specified in the root pruning part, it is very likely that this plant will require a transplant every year. You can take it outside, but only if the temperature in the area where you live does not drop below 0ºC. Poinsettia cannot bear frost, so if your climate is very cold, a transplant to a larger indoor pot will suffice. Here we tell you more about How to transplant the poinsettia.


Regarding the fertilizer, it welcomes small contributions of fertilizer added to the water with which we water it, especially after its flowering season. You can use purchased slow-release fertilizer, or use organic and ecological fertilizers, which you should apply in small doses and at most every 10 days.

If you follow all these steps, your Poinsettia should be able to stay with you for several years. Give it a try and don't throw it away! Also, if you see that the Christmas season is approaching and it does not have its typical color, this guide can be very useful: How to make the poinsettia turn red. In addition, to expand this information, we recommend this other practical gardening guide that deals with Caring for the poinsettia.

If you want to read more articles similar to Prune the poinsettia: when and how to do it, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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