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Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)


Scientific Name

Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch

Common Names

Poinsettia, Bird-of-paradise Flower, Christmas Flower, Christmas Eve Flower, Christmas Star, Fire on the Mountain, Fire Plant, Lobster Flower, Mexican Easter Flower, Mexican Flameleaf, Painted Leaf, Pride of Barbados


Euphorbia coccinea, Euphorbia diversifolia, Euphorbia erythrophylla, Euphorbia fastuosa, Euphorbia lutea, Euphorbia poinsettiana, Euphorbia poinsettii, Pleuradena coccinea, Pleuradenia coccinea, Poinsettia ignescens, Poinsettia mirabilis, Poinsettia pulcherrima, Poinsettia variabilis

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia


Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree up to 13 feet (4 m) tall. It has erect, succulent stems and large, flaming red leaves or bracts, which look like flamboyant flowers. The colored bracts are most often flaming red but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white or marbled. They are up to 16.2 inches (16 cm) long. The colors of the bracts are created through photoperiodism, meaning that they require darkness (12 hours at a time for at least five days in a row) to change color. The flowers are grouped within small, yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, and are called cyathia.

Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 0 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Euphorbias are very easy to care for. These plants require a little pampering to become established, but once they are, they are self-sufficient. In fact, more die from too much care and watering than from neglect. Euphorbias need well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. They are not particular about soil pH, but they cannot tolerate wet soil. Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia does not handle long periods of drought well. It may need weekly watering during the summer. Water whenever the soil is dry several inches below the surface. Water deeply, but don't let them sit in wet soil, which can cause root rot. Add some organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole. If you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor, feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly.

These succulents can be grown from seed, but they can be difficult to germinate (or even find). They are usually propagated by cuttings. This can be tricky, because of the exuding sap. Rooting hormone is recommended with Euphorbias. They tend to grow problem-free, but there are a few pests and diseases to be alert for… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia


Euphorbia pulcherrima is native to Mexico.


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