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Can You Compost Poinsettias?

If you’ve ever wondered “Can you compost poinsettias?” we’ve got the answers.

Perhaps you’ve heard that poinsettias are poisonous or even deadly if ingested.

If you have a poinsettia that is dropping its leaves or shriveled and dead, is it safe to put the plant in the compost pile?

A poinsettia plant in a pot, with slightly drooping leaves.

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Are Poinsettias Poinsonous?

We went straight to the experts at Poison Control for the answer. You will be happy to learn that poinsettias are not poisonous.

Your spent plant can be safely added to the compost heap. Just take care to cover it and make sure your family dog won’t get into it. If eaten and swallowed, the leaves could cause mild stomach upset. 

We have a covered compost bin that keeps the compost in and the critters out. We compost autumn leaves, grass clippings, produce scraps, leftovers that don’t get eaten, and much more.

Note that if your poinsettia has been sprayed with glitter, we don’t recommend putting it in the compost pile as the glitter won’t break down.

Safely Composting a Poinsettia

Some people are sensitive to the milky sap that comes from the poinsettia’s branches; it can occasionally cause an itchy rash.

Wear your gardening gloves when you add the plant to the compost, and be careful not to rub your eyes after touching the plants.

We composted our very own poinsettia plant, and it immediately transformed the compost heap into a festive and colorful montage:

colorful poinsettia leaves in a compost pile.

Can Your Poinsettia Be Saved?

If your poinsettia plant has dropped a few leaves or is drooping, it might still be possible to save it.

According to the experts at University of Minnesota Extension, poinsettias like moist soil and temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F.

They prefer bright sunlight, so you might place the plant in a sunny window. Try to avoid locations with temperature swings such as near a heating vent.

If the temperature drops below 50 degrees F, the poinsettia plant will likely die.

If you can keep it alive until late spring or early summer, you can transplant your poinsettia to a partly sunny garden bed. Good luck!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

5 thoughts on “Can You Compost Poinsettias?”

  1. In composting, chemical compounds break down – even chemical compounds. So it should be safe to include some poisonous plants into your compost bin. I guess, if you would use ONLY poinsettias for composting, there should be a slight problem. But if you wait long enough, everything will finally break down.

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.

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