Growing poinsettias outside is not only possible, it’s easier than you might think. In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to enjoy them outdoors for many years to come.
Poinsettias are a popular holiday flower most commonly sold around Christmas time, but did you know they can also grow outside too?
Many people are surprised to learn that they can live outdoors, and flourish in the garden or landscape with the right conditions.
This guide will teach you all about growing poinsettias outside. You’ll learn how much sun and water they need, what temperatures are ideal, and so much more.
Table of Contents
Are Poinsettias Outdoor Plants?
In nature, poinsettias are indeed outdoor plants. They’re tender perennials native to southern Mexico, where they thrive in the warm weather.
They can live outside year round in growing zones 10+, as long as the temperatures don’t drop consistently below 45°F.
Can Poinsettia Be Outside?
Many people are surprised to learn that poinsettias can be grown outside. In fact, they do so well in warm climates that they can become tall shrubs or small trees, reaching heights of 10’.
If you live in a cold area, they will enjoy spending the summer outdoors basking in the heat and sunshine.
Keep in mind that if you want to move an indoor plant outside, you’ll need to transition it gradually so it can endure the wind and sun.
Can Poinsettia Plants Stay Outside?
In areas that don’t experience frequent temperatures of 45°F or less, a poinsettia can grow outdoors all year long.
Anything below that for an extended period of time can cause damage and eventually death.
For cooler regions, they can be kept outside during the warm months, then overwintered indoors.
Poinsettia Care Outside
Before growing them outdoors, first we should talk about where a poinsettia will thrive. Below are some tips for choosing the right location.
Growing Poinsettia In The Garden
You can grow poinsettia outside in the garden as long as your region doesn’t experience frequent temperatures below 45°F.
They can get very large and tall and fill your garden with color during the fall and winter months, so make sure to give them enough space.
Poinsettia Care Outdoors In Pots
If you’d like to grow your poinsettia outdoors but have cold winters, containers are a great option.
They can be moved to any area with the right sun exposure during the warmer months, and then brought back inside before it gets cold.
Make sure you choose a pot that’s not too small to accommodate the potentially large size, and always use one that has drainage holes in the bottom.
Can You Plant Poinsettia Outside?
You can plant a poinsettia outside, but before you do, it’s important to understand when and where. The tips below can help you recognize the perfect time and place.
When To Plant My Poinsettia Outside
The best time to plant a poinsettia outside is after all chance of frost has completely passed.
Wait until temperatures are consistently above 50°F. This is usually sometime in early to mid-spring.
Where To Plant Poinsettias Outside
Poinsettias will grow best outside in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Choose a spot that gets full sun to partial shade and is protected from the wind.
To have blooms in the fall and winter, it’s important that they also have complete darkness at night. So keep them away from areas where they’ll be exposed to ambient indoor or street lights.
They can get very tall, so give them plenty of space or they may eventually crowd out your other plants.
How To Care For Poinsettias Outside
Now that you know where and when to plant them, it’s time to talk about how to care for outdoor poinsettias. Understanding their ideal environment is essential to long-lasting health.
Outdoor Sunlight Exposure
The ideal exposure for poinsettias is between 6-8 hours of full sun every day. In hotter areas, protect them from the intense afternoon rays so they don’t burn.
Also be sure to introduce them to the direct sun slowly if you’re moving them from inside your home.
Full darkness is equally important. They cannot be exposed to any light at night or they won’t set blooms.
Poinsettia Outside Temperature
The ideal temperature range for growing poinsettias outside is between 50-75°F. Anything below 45°F can cause damage and eventually death.
In warmer temperatures, keep an eye on the moisture level. You may need to irrigate more frequently to prevent them from drying out in the heat.
Pruning Outdoor Poinsettias
Even if they’re growing in the perfect outdoor environment, poinsettias tend to become leggy and sparse if not pruned consistently.
They’ll need a hard prune after the blooms fade in late winter. Cut them back with sterile sharp pruners to about 1-2’ tall. If they ever experience freeze damage, trim back to below that point.
How Often To Water Poinsettia Outside
Poinsettias like consistent moisture, but not to be soggy or wet. The best approach is to keep the soil slightly damp at all times.
Avoid puddling or pooling, or it can cause root rot. Likewise, don’t allow them to experience dry periods, or they can wilt and drop leaves.
Here I’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about growing poinsettias outside. If yours isn’t on the list, please add it to the comments section below.
Can poinsettias live outside in the summer?
Yes, poinsettias can live outside in the summer as long as temperatures remain above 45°F. Just be sure to slowly acclimate them to the full sun so the leaves don’t burn.
Can poinsettias be outside in the cold?
No, poinsettias cannot be outside in the cold. Temperatures consistently below 45°F will cause leaf drop, and eventually kill them. It’s best to move them indoors before it gets below 60°F.
How long do poinsettias live outside?
Poinsettias can live outside for a very long time, even decades, when given the ideal temperature, sun, and water. They are perennials in zones 10+.
Can I put a potted poinsettia outside?
Yes, you can put a potted poinsettia outside during the warmer months. Be sure to harden it off gradually to prevent sunburn or shocking the plant, and move them back in before the temps drop below 60°F.
Can poinsettias live outside in the winter?
Poinsettias can live outside in the winter only in growing zones 10+. Everywhere else is too cold, so they should be brought in during the cold months.
Now that you know how to grow a poinsettia outside, they can be a holiday gift that’s enjoyed for many years to come. These tips will help you create the perfect environment to help them thrive outdoors.
If you want to learn all there is to know about maintaining healthy indoor plants, then you need my Houseplant Care eBook. It will show you everything you need to know about how to keep every plant in your home thriving. Download your copy now!
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Share your tips for growing poinsettia outside in the comments section below.