Are you burning your cut poinsettia stems? According to experts you really should be

This unconventional hack can make your cut poinsettia flowers last for up to 3 weeks

A vase of poinsettias on a kitchen counter
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Poinsettia has become one of the symbols of the Christmas season. And while most opt for a potted plant, this red-flowered beauty can just as well be dotted around the house by cutting off stems from your plant and popping them in vases. The only problem is that this way the flower’s longevity dwindles. But not with this unconventional hack that burns the poinsettia stems to prolong its fresh-looking appearance by weeks.

Cut poinsettia flowers, whether as single stems or made into more elaborate flower arrangements, are the perfect budget Christmas decorating idea. And surprisingly enough, burning the ends of their stems is the top cut poinsettia care tip

We first came across this hack on Instagram, courtesy of Carmen Johnston (@carmenjohnstongardens) and in all honesty, we were somewhat shocked to have it confirmed by other flower experts too. But apparently, the best thing you can do for your poinsettia is to burn them.

Christmas table setting with poinsettias

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Cut poinsettia burning hack

Once you’ve figured out how to make your poinsettia turn red, you can enjoy your scarlet blooms all over the house by cutting a few stems and putting them in water. But first, give the ends a little torch as Carmen recommends.

‘Fill your bud vases with poinsettias. Cut a bract and sear the end with a lighter for 3-5 seconds, then place in water. Enjoy for 2-3 weeks,’ she recommends.

That’s right. This trick can make your cut poinsettia last for up to 3 weeks. How is that possible, you ask?

‘This effortless hack is great for prolonging the life of your beautiful poinsettia flowers,’ confirms David Denyer, flower expert at Eflorist. ‘As part of the Euphorbiaceae family, these blooms have sap, and sealing the stems prevents any sticky leakage into the water.’

Millie Durbak, brand manager at Prestige Flowers, adds, ‘Burning the stem can theoretically boost water uptake and delay wilting. The idea behind stem burning is to encourage water absorption by opening up the vascular system of the plant.’

A vase of poinsettias on a kitchen counter

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Wreford)

But there are other ways to keep your poinsettia looking its best for longer in case you want to skip on burning your plant or pair this technique with additional measures.

‘Our top recommendations to maintain the fresh appearance of poinsettias include keeping them away from radiators (optimal temperatures are 15-22 degrees), avoiding draughts, steering clear of direct sunlight, misting the poinsettia if the heating is on frequently, and for an extra boost, try dipping the stems in boiling water followed by cold to seal them. Trust us, your poinsettias will thank you,’ David says as he reveals another surprising method.

Things like these never cease to amaze us!

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.