Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
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How to care poinsettias Christmas flower plants all year round
Poinsettia plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are stars during Christmas time. They are widely grown indoors for their brightly colored bracts and can be known as Christmas flower, Christmas star or even bird-of-paradise flower.
Plant profileCommon name: Poinsettia, Christmas star, Christmas flower, Christmas flower, Christmas flower
Scientific name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
Plant type: Perennials, Shrubs
Height: 10cm - 50cm
Spread: 10cm - 50cm
Flower color: Red, White, Yellow
Season of interest: Winter
Sunlight: Partial shade
Moisture: Well drained
Garden type: Patio & Container Garden
Planting type: Containers & Pots
Poinsettias need a bright place but not with direct sunlight. They appreciate filtered light and do not tolerate droughts or temperatures below of 13ºC – 15°C (55ºF – 59°F).
Poinsettias dislike of damp conditions as well as dry soil. So, the best is to water them only when the surface is starting to dry out.
You can mist the foliage of the plants as it extends flowering.
Feed poinsettias every month with a high potassium and low nitrogen fertilizer.
How to transport poinsettias
When transporting poinsettias from the nursery or shop to your home in the winter take care because the cold temperatures outdoor can damage the foliage.
The stems are also easily broken by the wind, so ask if the shop can wrap the plant or put it in a bag that can protect the foliage.
Poinsettias wilting after purchase
Sometimes poinsettias begin to wilt as soon as they get home. They seem not to respond to care no matter how hard you try. This usually happens because the plant was stored in cold conditions in the store before you purchase it. Unfortunately, there is little you can do about it, just provide the good conditions and hope it will recover. Therefore, it is very important to buy plants from reputable suppliers.
Poinsettias are propagated in May – June by softwood cuttings. Wear gloves to do so as the milky sap can be irritant.
Poinsettias are widely cultivated and commercially attractive during Christmas time and new colors are being introduced. Here is a list of few:
- Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Menorca’ is vigorous, with dark olive green leaves with vivid red bracts
- Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Silver Star’ has variegated leaves and pink bracts
- Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Lilo White’ produces white bracts
- Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Eckes’s White’ bears ovate, bright green leaves and white bracts
- Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Lemon Snow’ has pale yellow bracts
Poinsettias don’t tolerate over-watering, this will cause grey mold. They may also be attacked by other common pests in indoor plants such as scale insects.
Avoid ingestion and contact with Poinsettia milky sap which may cause skin and eye irritation.