Learn how to propagate a poinsettia with our expert guide

Double down on your success and multiply your festive indoor plants for free

Closeup of the blossomed beautiful red poinsettia flowers
(Image credit: Wirestock / Getty Images)

You may be wondering how to propagate poinsettias if you've brightened up your festive scheme this year with one or two of these vibrant plants. Propagation is a wonderful way to multiply your collection without having to buy more plants – and not only is it budget-friendly, it's rewarding, too.

'With a little bit of patience, you can easily propagate poinsettias at home,' says Lindsey Hyland, the founder of Urban Organic Yield. There are two approaches – taking cuttings or sowing seeds – so you can choose whichever method works best for you. 

'With proper care and maintenance, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful poinsettia plants to display in your home or give away as gifts,' she adds.

Pink and white variegated poinsettia plant

Poinsettias are a popular plant for Christmas time

(Image credit: Future)

2 methods successful for poinsettia propagation

Poinsettias make a beautiful festive statement in any room, so why not create more of them?

How to propagate a poinsettia from cuttings

Brody Hall, co-founder of The Indoor Nursery, shares his tips on how to propagate poinsettias by taking softwood cuttings, so you can get more of the best poinsettias for Christmas.

Select healthy portions of the plant to take cuttings from rather than ones where your poinsettia leaves are turning yellow.

Brody Hall headshot
Brody Hall

From managing a vineyard to studying horticulture, all the way to obtaining a degree in Environmental Science - Brody loves nothing more than taking his years of knowledge and understanding of ecological science and applying it to the world of gardening.

  1. Look for lengths of new, non-flowering growth. Make a 45-degree angled cut about an inch below a leaf node, ensuring there are at least three leaves on each cutting. Be sure to wear gloves, as the stems can release a milky sap which is an irritant to the skin.
  2. Dip the ends of each cutting in rooting powder, such as TakeRoot available at Amazon.
  3. Place the cuttings in small, individual pots of potting mix. Gently press around the base and water lightly.
  4. Place the pots on a windowsill that gets indirect light, and keep them warm. Check the cuttings daily to ensure the soil is still moist and not overly wet.
  5. In 3-4 weeks, roots should have started to form. You can now transfer the cuttings to larger pots with more potting mix and learn how often to water poinsettias ongoing for healthy plants.

Potted green poinsettias growing on tables before Christmas

New plants will grow from poinsettia cuttings – pot them on when they're big enough to handle

(Image credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo)

How to propagate poinsettias from seeds

Growing new poinsettia plants from seeds is a little trickier and slower, but it's still a perfectly possible way to expand your collection of Christmas plants.

'To propagate poinsettias using seeds, you’ll need to collect the tiny, fruit-like capsules from the center of a mature poinsettia flowerhead,' says Lindsey Hyland. Put them in a paper envelope until they are completely dry.

Then, follow her steps below:

  1. Carefully break open the capsule and remove the small black seeds inside.
  2. Plant the seeds in a pot or tray filled with moistened potting soil or seed starting mix like this Seed Starter Natural Potting Soil Mix at Amazon.
  3. Place the pot in a warm, sunny area and keep the soil moist but not soggy. 
  4. After approximately 6-8 weeks, you should see new growth appearing from the seeds. Once this happens, transfer your poinsettias to larger pots filled with fresh potting soil and give them plenty of sunlight.
Lindsey Hyland headshot
Lindsey Hyland

From outdoor food gardens to container planting, to aquaculture and hydroponics, Lindsey is an expert in a range of topics and is passionate about teaching you the basics in gardening.

Poinsettia flower closeup of seeds

Look closely and you may spot seed pods on your poinsettia

(Image credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo)


When should you take cuttings from poinsettias?

You can take cuttings from your poinsettia at the same time you go to prune it (in early spring). In terms of the best time of day, aim for the morning, when it is cool.

Though perhaps the most classic choice, poinsettia aren't the only Christmas houseplants. If you want a more contemporary plant why not have a look at Christmas cactus care.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for Gardeningetc.com for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.