Euphorbia Species, Poinsettia Species, Flor de Nochebuena, Christmas Eve Flower, Christmas Star

Euphorbia pulcherrima

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: pulcherrima (pul-KAIR-ih-muh) (Info)
Synonym:Euphorbia erythrophylla
Synonym:Euphorbia fastuosa
Synonym:Pleuradena coccinea
Synonym:Poinsettia pulcherrima
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:




Scarlet (dark red)

White/Near White


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Jones, Alabama

Berkeley, California

Brea, California

Encino, California

Escondido, California

Hayward, California

Laguna Hills, California

Lompoc, California

Oak View, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Simi Valley, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Bartow, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Dunedin, Florida

Englewood, Florida

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Largo, Florida

Miami, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Port Orange, Florida

Tampa, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Williston, Florida

Roswell, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Biloxi, Mississippi

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Bluffton, South Carolina

Brownsville, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Falcon Heights, Texas

Houston, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Mcallen, Texas(2 reports)

Mission, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Edmonds, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 2, 2007, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

Here people plant them in their flower beds for a festive look around Christmas and they usually keep them all winter, but in the spring they are replaced with other flowers. I dont know why no one just plants them as a shrub. They plant them in the flower beds at one of the coldest times of the year (for us December is usually colder for some reason. It starts to warm up in January. i dont know why.), so it cant be that they are not cold hardy. although we are actually classified as zone 8b, we have mostly 9a "winters", so technically they shouldnt grow here during the holidays, but they do. Does anyone have an idea as to why?


On Dec 12, 2005, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Aztecs called poinsettias "Cuetlaxochitle." During the 14th - 16th century the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye.

Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because poinsettias could not be grown in the high altitude.

William Prescott, a historian and horticulturist, was asked to give Euphorbia pulcherrima a new name as it became more popular. At that time Mr. Prescott had just published a book called the Conquest of Mexico in which he detailed Joel Poinsett’s discovery of the plant. So, Prescott named the plant the poinsettia in honor of Joel Poinsett’s discovery.

The botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherri... read more


On Feb 7, 2005, crazyplantguy from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

it is a well known fact among most gardeners that the poinsettia plant is not poisonous. Go to any poisonous plants page and you will find more. The plant is named after James Poinsett, who I'd rather forget because his job was to rid the U.S of american indians, not so respectful. So lets call this pretty plant euphorbia . Also grows with proper care after the holidays I'm not so sure about all of the closet buisness or the calculated daylight to get it to bloom. Just water and repot. Its green leaves are way nicer than red. I've had mine for about 2 years or so its taken on quite a tree appearance.


On Jan 4, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
Joel Roberts Poinsett, our first ambassador to Mexico, who dcovered this plant while in Mexico in 1828, brought back cuttings and grew them in his greenhouse in South Carolina. The rest is history. The Aztecs called the poinsettia Cuetlayochitl; whereas, in Chile and Peru it is called the "Crown of the Andes." It is known as "lobster flower", "flower of the Holy Night" and "flame leaf flower" as well. The flowers (cyathia) are located in the center of the colorful bracts. Do not plant near a night time light source as this will disrupt the blooming cycle.

If you have never heard the legend of the Christmas poinsettia which originated in Mexico and are interested read below:

A girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo were very poo... read more


On May 18, 2003, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

When a child, we had Poinsettias growing on the East side of the house by the A/C unit. They were at least 6' high and needed no special tending. The Monarch butterflies (or at least a butterfly that looked like them, I was very little) loved them, and I used to sit in the middle of them on the A/C unit to watch them. It seems to me that they bloomed quite often. I also have some growing now, I just moved them from a full-sun exposure to a more dappled spot. I am in Central Florida and they were getting burned by the extreme sun and dry hot sandy soil. (They were in the back, which is all pine bark mulch and about 4 feet wide.) I am hoping for better results, with milder light and richer soil.


On Jan 21, 2003, Lavanda from Mcallen, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Native of Mexico, these can be seen growing wild as well as in domesticated home gardens. In mild climates, they can grow to be 20 feet tall when planted in the ground.

A marvelous sight to see in the winter months in Mexico - so tall and in full bloom for most of November, all of December, and January.


On Dec 17, 2002, WAYNEB wrote:

It is a common misconception that this plant is poisonous to humans or pets. It is not poisonous although the milky sap may be irritating to the skin of some sensitive people. There has been extensive scientific testing to back this up and many sites on the web can be accessed to verify it. One of the most detailed discussions is at:


On Sep 12, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a classic holiday plant, outsold only by Christmas trees. Sometimes pronounced "poin-set-uh" and sometimes "poin-set-ee-uh".

The species name, pulcherrima, means "most beautiful". This native of Mexico is named for Dr. J.R. Poinsett, and was introduced to gardeners in the early 19th century. The "flowers" are actually bracts, and growers have created larger, showier cultivars in recent years. Colors now range from white to burgundy, and some are bi-color, appearing to be "splashed" with contrasting colors.

In its natural habitat, this plant can easily reach 10' in one season. Most growers pinch it back to create more branches and keep it under 2' tall for retail sales.