Poinsettia is a subtropical houseplant belonging to the spurge family.

Also known as:
Christmas star

You are viewing the mobile-adapted version of the page.
The one for tablets, laptop and desktop also provides general information, such as origin, toxicity and cultivation.

Photo: André Karwath - CC BY-SA 2.5
  • Poinsettia is not poisonous. It does have the name to be poisonous, but most likely the Poinsettia is confused with the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) which is indeed poisonous.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a subtropical plant belonging to the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Poinsettias belong in southern Mexico and the countries of central America, where they can grow five meters tall.
The red colored leaves are the bracts. Pointsettias bloom with inconspicuous green or yellow flowers in the center of the bracts.

Location: Pointsettias need a daily dose of sun (at least five hours, to be exact), so put them in front of a south-facing window. Prevent the leaf from touching the cold window: cold affects the leaf. Also, do not put the plants in a draft, which prevents premature leaf fall. Provide an ambient temperature of around 21ºC, in which they thrive best. In cooler environments (15ºC and below), the risk of root rot increases.
Soil: potting soil, mixed with some moss or peat to retain water.
Watering: The soil should not dry out, Pointsettias like a slightly moist soil. Too wet is not good either, and the roots will rot away. So make sure excess water can drain: place the potted plant in an ornamental pot with some gravel at the bottom.
Keep: After the leaves have fallen off, put the plant in a cool and dark place (+15ºC) and do not water again. The plant goes dormant; put it back in a warm environment after two months and the Poinsettia will sprout again. Start watering; repot the plant if necessary.


Glasshouse cultivation: leaves turn yellow and bumpy; eggs on underside of leaves: greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum).

Fungi & diseases

The houseplant Poinsettia is not very susceptible to fungi and diseases.

recognizing Pseudomonas marginalis
Pseudomonas marginalis on Chicory, photo: Rasbak – CC BY-SA 3.0

Leaf margins turn black: Pseudomonas marginalis.


Leaf falls off prematurely: drafts or an environment that is too cold may be the cause.