How Can I Make My Poinsettia Last During the Holiday Season? - Ask BrightView


Ask BrightView: Episode 19

BrightView Horticulturist Bruce Hellerick discusses the holiday-favorite plant, the poinsettia. Learn the history of the plant, the different varieties, and the best way to care for it. The most common misconception about poinsettias are that it is poisonous, but Hellerick explains white that oozy, white substance in the leaves is.

{For the full transcript, see below.)

Your Questions, Answered

We take your burning questions and give you the best advice, tips, steps, and more for your landscape needs in our Ask BrightView series.

Have you seen the latest episode yet?

Video Transcription

How can I make my poinsettia last during the holiday season?


Today, we're going to talk about poinsettias. We're going to talk about their history, how to care for them, and some of the beautiful varieties.

History and Varieties

When you talk about the history of poinsettias, they originated in Mexico and there, they will grow to about 10 feet in height. Poinsettias come in a wide range of colors now, so you have your reds, your marbles, your whites, and your pinks. Another favorite is called the winter rose. It's a different form that has been done through breeding, but it is a beautiful, unique poinsettia.


Let's talk a little bit about caring for your poinsettia and a little about how a poinsettia grows. Here we have a beautiful plant. The actual flower of a poinsettia is right in the center here. This is the only part of the true flower. When you're selecting your poinsettias, pick ones that have the flowers in the center that aren't open, this way the whole plant will last a lot longer for you. When it comes to taking care of a poinsettia, put it in a nice, sunny area away from drafts - that's the most important thing to do. Also, just keep it moist and not soaking wet. When you do water it and you have a pot cover, make sure that you drain that water away because it will rot the plant. The leaves that you see on here, these colored portions, are actually leaves that have colored up. This green leaf will turn red or pink or whatever color your plant is. You can see this one here is about halfway changed. Poinsettias are very susceptible to carbon monoxide. If your poinsettia is constantly wilted, you might want to check your monitoring systems to make sure you don't have high levels of carbon monoxide at your property.


A misconception is that poinsettias are poisonous. Poinsettias really are not poisonous. They are in the Euphorbia family, so when you pluck a leaf, you're going to get this white, oozy substance coming out, which means it's part of the Euphorbia family. The flavor of that is not very good. I have tried it. A pet or maybe a child might nibble on a couple of these, but they are not going to eat the whole plant.

In general, put your poinsettia in a bright, sunny window; keep it well-watered, but not wet; and enjoy it with the holiday season.