How To Propagate Poinsettia Plants From Seeds and Cuttings

The question is whether poinsettia propagates from seeds or cuttings or both, and which is better way to grow poinsettias.  You can grow new poinsettia plants from seeds or by rooting a poinsettia cutting. However, it is mostly propagated by rooting a poinsettia cutting, propagating from cuttings is easier than seed and most successful.

How to propagate Poinsettia plant

Also the poinsettias grown from cuttings will be the clone of the parent plant, whereas the seed grown plants may be totally different from the parent plant.

Euphorbia pulcherrima is native to Mexico and belongs to spurge family. Poinsettias can grow up to heights of 0.5 - 4 m or shrubs. Poinsettias plants are popular Christmas decorations in homes,  offices, churches, and elsewhere.

When To Propagate Poinsettias From Cuttings

The best time for propagating poinsettias plant from cuttings is from spring to summer when the plant is actively growing.
  1. Prepare Poinsettias Cuttings For Rooting
    1. Wear gloves when taking the cuttings from poinsettias as the plant will release latex sap on cutting which is irritating to the skin.
    2. Take cuttings from the newly growing stems.
    3. Take about 3 to 5 inch long cutting using a sharp and clean blade or knife. Wash the cut end of the plant to prevent latex sap from leaking.
    4. Remove the lower leaves as this will reduce the water loss through transpiration.
    5. Place the cuttings in shade for sometime to allow the cut end to callus (dry).
  2. Take a small pot having many drainage holes.
  3. Propagation Medium or Rooting Soil Mix: Fill the pot with seed raising soil mix. You can prepare your own rooting medium by mixing coarse river sand in potting soil in equal amount. The river sand makes the soil free draining. 
  4. Water the soil thoroughly and place the pot in shade for half an hour to drain excess water.
  5. Make a hole in the soil with a stick and plant the cuttings about 1 inch deep. The rooting hormone is not essential. Do not water again.
  6. The  poinsettia cuttings will root successfully in very high humidity. For this, enclose the pot in a plastic bag and place in shade. The new growth will emerge in a few weeks.

Rooting Poinsettias Cuttings in Water

Can you root poinsettia cuttings in water?

  1. You can root poinsettias cuttings in water but with but low success rate. 
  2. First prepare the cuttings as shown above for propagating poinsettia cuttings in water. 
  3. Place the cutting upright in a glass or cup having 1 inch water.
  4. Change the water in about a week to keep it fresh. 
  5. Keep the cutting in bright, indirect sunlight. 
  6. The roots will appear in about 4 weeks.

Poinsettia Propagation From Seed

If you wish to grow poinsettia from seed then read below.

Poinsettias are mostly propagated by stem cuttings, but you can try growing poinsettia from seed. The new plants, in general, will be inferior to the parents plants. You need fresh poinsettia seeds, as seeds viability decreases rapidly when they are stored for 3 months at 25°C [1].

When should you plant poinsettia seeds?

If you want to have your poinsettias in Christmas, then you should start your poinsettia seeds in the spring. but the plant will have flowers in the second Christmas.

Poinsettia Seeds

How to collect Poinsettia Seeds? When the poinsettia seed pods turn brown from green, collect them and enclose them in a closed paper bag to dry. The seeds will pop out of the pods or you can take out the seeds from the pods. The seeds are very small.

The seeds may need to undergo stratification process if you live in a warm area, means about three months in your refrigerator. 

Sowing the Poinsettia Seeds

  1. Fill a pot with the potting soil as shown for cutting propagation.
  2. Sow the seeds just below the surface of the soil spray some water.
  3. and cover it with a clear plastic over it and place in a warm place, away from direct sunlight.
  4. The seeds will germinate in about a week or two, then remove the plastic. Lightly mist the soil and keep in shade to grow leaves.
  5. The seedlings can be attacked by fungal diseases in the absence of air movement.


1. J. S. Bannon, et al. “Germination of Wild Poinsettia (Euphorbia Heterophylla).” Weed Science, vol. 26, no. 3, 1978, pp. 221–25. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4042703.