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Euphorbia pulcherrima

Phonetic Spelling
yoo-FOR-bee-ah pul-cher-REE-mah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The poinsettia is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub in the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. The plant is native to Mexico, and was brought to the United States in the early 1800's by Joel Poinsette, who was ambassador to Mexico at the time. The genus name may honor Euphorbus, who was a physician to the King of Mauretania. The species name translates to “beautiful” or “pretty”. In its native habitat, the plant can grow to 10 feet high. However, it is typically grown as a potted plant, where it rarely exceeds 2 to 3 feet.

The plant grows best in part shade at temperatures of 60 degrees or higher. Its water needs are moderate, so do not let the plant dry out, but do not overwater. To maintain the plant in the garden, begin fertilizing in the spring. Prune or pinch back through the summer to promote the main branches and produce the desired fall color. To propagate poinsettias, use stem cuttings in early summer with rooting hormone and potting mix that contains peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.

The cup-shaped yellow "flowers" bloom during the Christmas season and cluster above showy red, pink, or cream-colored leafy bracts. A large yellow gland on the rim of the "flower" adds to its decorative appeal. The stems and leaves produce a milky sap when cut or torn. The poinsettia holds the largest share of potted plant sales during the Christmas season. 

If kept indoors, provide as much sun as possible during the day. Poinsettia plants have a low severity as far as being poisonous; studies have shown that a significant amount of the plant would have to be ingested before registering a mild stomach ache. However, the white sap can cause reactions in people who have latex allergies.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Mealybugs, red spider mites, scale, and whiteflies. Overwatering can cause root and stem rot.  

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Ingram McCall, Research Specialist at NC State University

More information on Euphorbia.

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Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#houseplant#drought tolerant#deciduous shrub#interiorscape#rabbit resistant#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#cpp#milky sap#colorful bracts#winter flowers#Christmas decorations#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#contact dermatitis#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#houseplant#drought tolerant#deciduous shrub#interiorscape#rabbit resistant#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#cpp#milky sap#colorful bracts#winter flowers#Christmas decorations#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#contact dermatitis#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euphorbia
    Species:
    pulcherrima
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western Mexico
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Black
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Cup-shaped inconspicuous tiny yellow "flowers" cluster above the showy red, pink, or cream leafy bracts. A large yellow gland appears on the rim of the "flower". Seasonal bloomer but most often grown to bloom in winter through spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Denticulate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Large, ovate alternate leaves, with or without blunt teeth on the margin.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems contain a milky sap.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Pollution
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Minor redness, swelling, and blisters can occur after some delay following frequent contact with skin. Causes occasional abdominal pain with vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpene esters in milky latex
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems