How to propagate poinsettias: quick tips for more festive plants

Learn how to propagate poinsettias and get new plants for free

poinsettia close-up
(Image credit: Constantine Johnny/Moment/Getty Images)

You may be wondering how to propagate poinsettias if you've brightened up your festive scheme this year with one or two. That way, you can add to your collection without having to buy more – and not only is it budget-friendly, it's super 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.

Bright pink and red poinsettia in a grey planter

Poinsettias are a popular plant for Christmas time

(Image credit: Stars for Europe)

How to propagate poinsettias 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 these gorgeous Christmas houseplants.

  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 gardening gloves, as the stems can release a milky sap which is an irritant to the skin.
  2. Dip the ends of each cutting in hormone rooting powder, available on 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.

You can also propagate Christmas cactus plants from cuttings in a similar way, if you want even more festive houseplants for free.

potted young poinsettia plants

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)

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.

poinsettia flower seeds

Look closely and you may spot seed pods on your poinsettia

(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 indoor garden.

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. 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 (available on 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.
Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy 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. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.