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lspichkin 11-29-2007 10:12 PM

All about Poinsettia
Courtesy of matrianklw on flickr

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are flowers native to the Pacific coast of Mexico, some parts of central southern Mexico, and a few localities in Guatemala. They are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant in the U.S. in 1825.

Poinsettias are shrubs to small trees, typically reaching a height of 2 to 16 ft. The plant bears dark green leaves that measure 3 to 6 inches in length. The top leaves are flaming red, pink, or white and are often mistaken as flowers. The actual flowers are grouped within the small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, which are called cyathia.

There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available (cultivars have been produced with orange, pale green, cream and marbled leaves), but the vast majority of Americans prefer red poinsettias.

In areas outside its natural environment it is commonly grown as an indoor plant where it prefers good morning sun then shade in the hotter part of the day. However it is widely grown and very popular in subtropical climates such as Sydney, Australia.

The poinsettia can be difficult to induce to reflower after the initial display when purchased. The plant requires a period of uninterrupted long, dark nights for around two months in autumn in order to develop flowers. Incidental light at night during this time will hamper flower production. When watering it is important to allow the plant to drain out any excess water. Having a poinsettia sit in water can do harm to the plant as it prefers moist soil to direct water.

If growing your poinsettia outdoors, take care to choose a well-draining location that gets full to partial sun. They prefer a slightly acidic soil and must be protected from strong winds. Remember to prune back every couple of months and to pinch the tips in order to grow a bushier plant.
The 'Winter Rose' variety of Poinsettia
Courtesy of Fernando Cuenca Romero on Flickr

More Links
'Cranberry Punch' Poinsettia
Courtest of Henryr10 on Flickr

cia007 12-02-2007 08:10 AM

Thanks for posting this- my DH came home with a poinsettia for me and I cringed because I always manage to kill them off in a few weeks, or they lose all their leaves, and I nurse them out of pity, afraid to kill them off and they survive until sometime in the spring before I toss the straggly stems...with the lack of light up here, I feel it is almost cruel to sell them in the stores. Don't know if I can keep mine going, but the water tips certainly help. Next time I want DH to get me a Christmas Cactus...LOL!

smgardener 12-06-2007 09:06 PM

Was at the Bellagio in Las Vegas this week, and saw a very nice display of poinsettias. I didn't have my camera, but I found this on flickr:

sososleepy 01-01-2008 08:43 AM

Wild Poinsettia
My favorite Poinsettia is the Florida Native Wild Poinsettia. It plants itself in my yard, so it's one of my easiest plants to get (lol). It's also the host plant for the very neat looking Ello Sphinx Moth.

Florida Wild Poinsettia from

smgardener 01-03-2008 10:38 PM

Nice one sososleepy, thanks for posting!

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