Euphorbia pulcherrima

Common Name: poinsettia 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Native Range: Western Mexico
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow flowers with red bracts
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Air Pollution

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly called poinsettia, is the most widely grown of all shrubby euphorbias. In Mexico it is a straggly deciduous shrub. Inconspicuous yellow flowers are surrounded by large brilliant red floral bracts (modified leaves) in winter through spring. Contrary to conventional wisdom, poinsettia plants are not a poisonous plant. A Ohio State University study showed that a 50 pound child could eat 500 bracts and might have a slight stomach ache. However, the white sap can have allergic properties, especially for people who have latex allergies.

Genus name probably honors Euphorbus, physician to the King of Mauretania.

Specific epithet means pretty.

The common name of poinsettia recognizes Joel R. Poinsette (1775-1851) a gardener, botanist and diplomat from South Carolina who was ambassador to Mexico in 1824. He brought the plant back to South Carolina.


Problems may include whitefly, mealybugs, red spider mites and scale. Root or stem rots can also occur if overwatered. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants


Grown primarily as a pot plant, poinsettias are a big industry representing about 85% of potted plant Christmas season sales. The USA exports about 90% of the world’s poinsettia plants. It is thought that poinsettias are grown commercially in greenhouses in all 50 states and over 60 million plants are produced for sale.