Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Euphorbia pulcherrima
(yew-for-bee-ah pull-kerr-ah-ma)

poinsettia leaf Poinsettia Poinsettia Poinsettia Poinsettia Poinsettia
Click on thumbnails for larger image.
large poinsettia

What about it?

The poinsettia is a very popular plant that is used as a winter holiday decoration because of its green and red coloration. Usually it is seen between 1.5 to 3 feet tall but can grow up to 10 feet The lower leaves are green and the upper leaves are bright red. Some varieties, such as 'Jingle Bells,' have pink or white upper leaves.

What is it used for?

Poinsettias are used for temporary displays. They come in various sizes and colors, and look attractive anywhere indoors. Provide artificial or natural light for best results.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

It is usually treated as a "discard plant" after the floral display is finished. However, poinsettias can be kept and induced to re-flower. To improve the keeping quality of the plant it should have full sunlight and warm temperatures. It is a native to the tropics so it needs to be kept in a warm spot as well.

What are its primary problems?

Pointsettia's most serious problem is the white fly. Plants that become heavily infested should probably be discarded. Also, the plant contains alkaloids that are very irritating, so keep it in a place where curious pets and children cannot reach it.

How do we propagate it?

The poinsettia plant is propagated by terminal cuttings.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.