Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch
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
Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree that grows up to 13 feet (4 m) tall. It has erect, fleshy stems and large flaming red leaves or bracts, locking like flamboyant flowers. The colored bracts are most often flaming red but can be orange, pale green, cream-colored, 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 the color. Flowers are grouped within small yellow structures, called cyathia, found in the center of each leaf bunch.
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. Feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly if you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor.
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.
This species is native to Mexico.
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus