What To Do With Your Ailing Poinsettia Plant

Many gardeners lament that they can’t keep their poinsettias looking nice through the holidays. By Christmas Day, their poinsettias have dropped their leaves or wilted or otherwise turned from looking spectacular in the store to looking like a sad “Charlie Brown” kind of Christmas plant.

Rather than throw your poinsettia plants into the compost bin, may I suggest an alternative?

Leave them on your fireplace hearth on Christmas Eve next to the plate of cookies and glass of milk that you set out for Santa Claus. Yes, put those leggy, half-dead poinsettia plants right there by the carrots for the reindeer.

Then, if you’ve been a good gardener all year, Santa will take the poinsettia plants back to the North Pole with him where his very best gardening elves will nurse them back to good health and get them to rebloom in time for them to show up next year at a local florist’s shop or garden center.

And then you can buy the poinsettia plants again and repeat the process.

If Santa doesn’t take your poinsettia plant, tsk tsk, maybe he forgot? Surely you weren't a bad gardener this past year? No way! But if indeed Santa 'forgets' your poinsettia plant, you can either compost it if you think it is too far gone, or try to take better care of it yourself. If you decide to try to take better care of it yourself, check out this web site for tips on how to care for a poinsettia in your home.

Happy Holiday Gardening!


  1. Hi there, Carol :-)

    Just popping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Gardening in 2008 :-D

    Mmm... maybe Santa has a garden blog and could give tips for January's GBBD :-D

  2. My technique for making sure my poinsettia looks good through Christmas Day is to buy it about December 15...

  3. I never buy a poinsettia plant, but every year or two my Jewish neighbor is given one, which she passes along to me. Mine usually last through the holidays, and when they start looking ugly I toss them without a qualm, since I had little invested in them to begin with.

  4. Poinsettas go along with the rest of my indoor plants. They look ok through the holiday then they start to get leggy looking. Sometimes they make it until spring so I can put them outside. Other times they succumb to the dry heat of our home. They are fun to have around the holidays. They are worth the effort.

  5. I love any flowering plant and feel no sadness when it hits the compost bin! Poinsettias take up too much room for what they give back after bloom so...compost it is!

  6. My husband brought one home about two weeks ago and it's a little leggy but lookin good. I watered it instead of icing it to death.

    Thanks for the link.

    Merry Christmas, Carol!

  7. Shirl... Merry Christmas to you as well. I don't know if Santa can help with GBBD for January, but we'll see!

    Leslie... That's a good tip!

    Coldclimategardening(Kathy)... I think most people do end up throwing out their poinsettias, if the truth be known...

    Layanee... See comment above.

    Mary... You remembered the ice cube post! Too funny.

    So... it seems like several are going to compost their poinsettias eventually, anyway, so what would it hurt to start that new tradition of leaving them by Santa's cookies so he can take them back to the North Pole?

    Merry Christmas,
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. Every year our local paper has an article on how to save and plant our Poinsettias and every year I follow the instructions and by August they are dead, not this year, compost it is. Merry Christmas.

  9. A delightful post, Carol, although just how many poinsettias do you suppose Santa can take in his sleigh? Mine will be put outside for the summer if they survive, but I mostly just treat them as I do cineraria and other temporary plants; enjoy them when they're lovely, and enjoy them even more when they're compost.
    A joyous and peaceful Christmas to you!

  10. Hmmmm... SO I'm thinking with mine, maybe watering (at all) would be a good start. Duh!
    ~Angela :-)

  11. I no it's not very gardener-like, but I only use fake poinsettia's. They always look good.

  12. I have to agree with Angela and say if I remember to water mine(which I didn't buy one this year)they would most likely do a lot better.

  13. I'm with Layanee on that one...compost bin as soon as the show's over! (Only after four frustrating years of pointless poinsettia rescue efforts...I try and earn my 'tude when it comes to plants! ;-)


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