Alphabetical Plant Listing

Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)

Poinsettia, Bird-of-Paradise Flower, Christmas Flower, Christmas Star, Fire on the Mountain, Fire Plant, Lobster Flower, Mexican Easter Flower, Mexican Flameleaf, Painted Leaf, Pride of Barbados


A popular Christmas ornamental, Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia) is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub noted for its showy red, pink, or cream leafy bracts (modified leaves), opening in winter through spring. Cup-shaped tiny yellow flowers bloom in the center of the colorful bracts, adding a decorative appeal. The colorful bracts will drop after pollination. For the longest-lasting Poinsettias, choose plants with little or no yellow pollen showing. The leaves are large, bluntly toothed and ovate. Native to Mexico, Poinsettias are not frost-tolerant and need a constant temperature of around 18ºC (55ºF) to color up well. Typically grown as potted plants, Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant and best selling potted plant in the United States and Canada. There are over 100 varieties of Poinsettias available.

  • Grows up to 3-10 ft. tall (90-300 cm cm) and 3-7 ft. wide (90-210 cm). As a potted houseplant, it rarely exceeds 2-3 ft. (60-90 cm).
  • A full sun or partial shade lover, it thrives in loamy, neutral to alkaline, well-drained soils. Poinsettia is reported to be invasive in Hawaii.
  • Perfect for patio containers, as an informal hedge in frost-free areas or as an indoor plant.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant, Poinsettia is also drought tolerant.
  • Keep an eye out for whitefly, mealybugs, red spider mites and scale. Root or stem rots can also occur if overwatered. Water your Poinsettia only when the soil is dry.
  • Prune back hard in spring, to about 4 in. (10cm). Repot the plant and grow it in a light place over summer at 60-65ºF (15-18ºC).
  • Flowering and bract coloring is initiated by short winter day-length, occurring naturally in winter. The reduction in light prevents the plant from producing chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plant parts green. To make your Poinsettia turn red, put the plant from late fall onwards in a dark room after twelve hours of daylight and protect it from artificial light sources.
  • Propagate by stem cuttings in early summer. Use a hormone rooting compound.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous. However, all parts may cause discomfort if ingested and contact with milky sap may irritate skin and eyes.
  • Native to Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 11
Heat Zones 10 – 11
Climate Zones 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Euphorbia - Spurges
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early)
Winter
Height 3' – 10' (90cm – 3m)
Spread 3' – 7' (90cm – 210cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance High
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens, Patio and Containers

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Photo courtesy Alabama Extension (Flickr)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 11
Heat Zones 10 – 11
Climate Zones 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Euphorbia - Spurges
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early)
Winter
Height 3' – 10' (90cm – 3m)
Spread 3' – 7' (90cm – 210cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance High
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens, Patio and Containers

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Euphorbia - Spurges

Guides with Euphorbia - Spurges

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