Poinsettia Plant Tips

Plant Tip – Poinsettia


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  • Used by the Aztecs to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication
  • Originally call Cuitlaxochitl in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, Meaning flower that grows in residues or soil
  • Known in Mexico and Guatemala as Flor de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Flower), Spain as Flor de Pascua (Easter Flower), Chile and Peru as Crown of the Andes, and in Hungarian as the Santa Claus’ Flower
  • The Poinsettia in an indigenous species of Mexico
  • The association with Christmas began in Mexico in the 16th century
  • The first United States Minister to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, introduced the plant to the US in 1825
  • Widely used in Christmas displays


Poinsettias are highly toxic. This is false and is believed to be from an urban legend about a 2 year old girl dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf back in 1919. Poinsettia’s toxicity is considered relatively mild. The Poisindex, a source for poison control centers, says a 50lb child would have to consume 500 leafs to build up to toxin levels found to be harmful.


  • Height: 2-13ft
  • Temperature: 70-90 degrees F (Temps 50 degrees F and under can wilt the leafs even if only exposed for a few minutes)
  • Sunlight: Shady locations with good morning sun
  • Soil: Well draining
  • Water: Keep Soil moist but not saturated
  • Color change: The Bracts need 10 to 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness for at least 5 days to change color but some say this can take up to 2 months. At the same time it needs abundant light during the day to bring out the brightest colors
  • Varieties: 100+



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