By: Larry Hodgson

Poinsettia's stems end in colorful bracts of red, white,pink, or yellow. See more pictures of house plants.

Poinsettia, the popular Christmas flower, has its origin in Mexico and is therefore also known as Mexican flame leaf.

The poinsettia is a branching shrub with milky sap and woody stems ending in colorful red, white, pink, or yellow bracts. It is usually purchased in full bloom at Christmas and is easy to maintain in full coloration until spring.

Getting it to rebloom is not easy. The secret is giving it total darkness for at least 14 hours every day, starting in September, until the bracts start to change color.


Poinsettia Quick Facts

Scientific Name:Euphorbia pulcherrima

Common Names: Poinsettia, Christmas Star, Lobster Plant, Mexican Flame Leaf

Light Requirement for Poinsettia: Bright Light to Filtered Light

Water Requirementfor Poinsettia: Drench, Let Dry

Humidityfor Poinsettia: Average Home

Temperaturefor Poinsettia: House

Fertilizerfor Poinsettia: Balanced

Potting Mixfor Poinsettia: All-Purpose

Propagation of Poinsettia: Stem Cuttings

Decorative Usefor Poinsettia: Table

Care Ratingfor Poinsettia: Demanding


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Larry Hodgson is a full time garden writer out of Quebec City in the heart of French Canada where he grows well over 3,000 species and varieties. His book credits include Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho's Complete Guide to Houseplants, as well as other titles in English and French. He's the winner of the Perennial Plant Association's 2006 Garden Media Award.