Plant of the Week: Poinsettia

Euphorbia pulcherrima, Poinsettia

Over 100 types ranging from 1 to 15 feet tall and wide

Full Sun

Winter Blooming

Red, pink, and white ‘blooms’ are the most common

Annual shrub

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and in the wild can grow up to 15′ tall.  The Aztecs used the red bracts to make dye and the sap to help control fevers.  But we all know the Poinsettia as a Holiday plant.  This came about as a Mexican legend about a little girl on Christmas giving one to Jesus.

What we commonly refer to as petals on the Poinsettia plant are actually modified leaves called bracts.  Normally they are simply green however if they have 12 hours of darkness every day for about a month this triggers the plant to bloom and the bracts turn those bright, vibrant colors.

Poinsettias can stay beautiful in your home for months with the right care.  They cannot tolerate freezing, however they do want to be between 55-65 degrees typically.  They also like the soil to be a bit drier so be sure to punch holes in the foil that typically wraps a poinsettia to allow excess water to drain out.

Fun Fact:  Poinsettias are not poisonous.  This is an extremely common misconception surrounding this plant but many studies have been done to prove it.  It is estimated a person would have to consume hundreds of poinsettia leaves or bracts before any symptoms would show and even then it is mostly indigestion.

By: Erica