Giant, Live Poinsettia Tree
Euphorbia pulcherrima

How to grow a live poinsettia tree. Christmas poinsettias can be grown into giant trees in pots or in the ground. Starting a Euphorbia pulcherrima tree.

If the only poinsettia plants you have seen are the potted holiday poinsettias, you may not realize what a whopper Euphorbia pulcherrima really is.

Bright Red Poinsettias Surround Two Women
Bright Red Poinsettias Surround Two Women
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In its native Mexico, or anyplace where winter temperatures remain above freezing, the Christmas poinsettia plant will reach tree-like heights.

Left to itself, it will grow into a huge bush like the one in the print above. But people often prune them into trees.

Growing a Live Poinsettia Tree

Poinsettia trees planted along a lava rock wall on Maui.

Poinsettia trees planted along a lava rock wall on Maui.

Poinsettia trees planted at a school in Chandigarh, India.

When planted in the ground, the poinsettia tree becomes a giant.

These trees are growing outside a school in Chandigarh, India.

If you don't live in USDA zones 9b-11, grow your tree in a container and take it indoors for the winter. See Growing Poinsettias Indoors for winter poinsettia care instructions.

No matter where the tree will ultimately be planted it will need to be started in a small pot.

You don't want to start with a poinsettia bush because that will have multiple stems. You want a plant with a single main stem which will eventually become the tree's trunk.

The best way to get this is to start with a cutting.

  1. Root a 6 inch stem cutting of any poinsettia cultivar you like the looks of in a 6 inch pot. The cuttings are not difficult to root. Leave 2-3 leaves (cut in half if they are large) attached and keep the cutting in a warm, humid, shady environment.
  2. Once roots form, move the plant into better light but not full sun. Too much light will cause compact growth and you want the stem to elongate. Stake the stem loosely to keep it straight.
  3. When the roots begin to fill the pot, shift the poinsettia plant into a pot 1 size larger. Keep doing this until the plant is in the size pot you wish it to remain in or until you are ready to plant it out into the garden.
  4. Remove the lower side shoots as the plant grows but don't pinch the tip of the main stem until it is as tall as you want it to be.
  5. Leave the side shoots that form on the top third of the tree in place. These will form the tree's head or canopy. Pinch these back to 3 nodes to make them bushier.
  6. Be sure to stop pinching by late fall if you want to use the tree as a poinsettia Christmas decoration.

Poinsettia Christmas Tree

There are Christmas displays made up of live poinsettia plants set into a poinsettia tree stand.

This type of poinsettia Christmas tree can range in height from 5-20 feet.

They are beautiful to look at but somewhat difficult to water. The plants at the top will dry out before the plants at the bottom. Plan on replacing a few plants here and there throughout the holiday season if you get one of these.

Beautiful, zero-maintenance, artificial poinsettia Christmas trees can be found in the Poinsettia Christmas Tree Store.

Buy Poinsettia Decor at Affordable Prices

Other Christmas Plants:

The Trumpet-shaped Flowers of the Amaryllis Plant

For Best Growth, Get Your Paper Whites Drunk!

Qualities of the Blue Spruce Christmas Tree

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Your plant guides,

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