Poinsettias: Variations in a Theme

Check out this grower's favorite cultivars. Plus, care tips for this holiday favorite.



Similar Topics:
  1. Christmas
  2. Plants

Along with sprigs of holly and mistletoe, the poinsettia has become a favorite colorful embellishment during the winter holidays. Grower Paul Ecke shows off his collection of poinsettias.



A sample of poinsettia cultivars

The colorful parts of the poinsettia are the top sets of leaves, known as the bracts or modified leaves. The flowers are the small, yellow, budlike centers called the cyathia. The various colors, shapes and forms of the bracts are what make each poinsettia cultivar unique. Here are just a few of Ecke's holiday favorites.



'Kris Krinkle' has brilliant red, ruffled bracts.

'Mini Star' is a miniature red cultivar that's quite popular in Europe but hasn't caught on in the U.S. "We haven't really been able to get Americans, who like big stuff, to fall in love with 'Mini Star'," says Ecke.



'Jester' has bracts that grow upwards, instead of laying flat or drooping.



'Winter Rose' isn't your typical red poinsettia. Its red bracts are uniquely twisted in such a way that they resemble roses. Dark green foliage underneath the red bracts accents their unique shape.



'Ice Punch' has a unique variegation on its bracts. A splash of white decorates the red bracts.



'Visions of Grandeur' is a large cultivar with giant cream-colored bracts.

Poinsettia care

When transporting your poinsettia, protect it as best you can from cold temperatures by carrying it in a protective sleeve or a large bag that can be removed at home. Place it in a location with indirect sunlight and free from cold drafts or excessive heat. Ecke recommends putting your poinsettia in the same place where you would like to be: "If you're too cold, it's too cold."

Take care not to overwater, especially with plants in decorative foil sleeves. Instead, remove the poinsettia from its sleeve and allow the water to drain through before placing it back in the sleeve. Or, remove the plant from the sleeve and place it in a reservoir where you can see when the water passes through.

What do you do when the holidays are over and your poinsettia is finished with its colorful show? Ecke recommends throwing it out and buying a new one next year, instead of trying to get it to "rebloom." Poinsettias require much effort to get another flush of color.

Are poinsettias poisonous?

There's a misconception that poinsettias are highly poisonous. According to studies done by the Ohio State University in connection with the Society of American Florists, no toxicity was found when eaten in quantities higher than those likely to occur in the typical home environment. However, this doesn't mean you should go eat a poinsettia for dinner. There have been occasional cases when people have had mild allergic reactions to the sap, notably skin irritation or rashes.

Next Up

Plant and Grow Poinsettias in Your Garden

These tropical beauties can flourish outdoors in warm-winter areas.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Poinsettias bring a splash of festive red and green to a table or windowsill at the holidays. With proper care, you can enjoy these beautiful plants for weeks.

Gifts That Grow on You: Living Christmas Presents

You can't go wrong with a gift from the garden.

Keeping the Cut Christmas Tree Fresh

Follow these tips to get the most out of your tree this holiday.

Mix Houseplants with Holiday Flowers and Plants

Houseplants make great companions for holiday favorites.

Keep a Tree for Life

Recycle your Christmas tree by potting it on and enjoying it on your patio throughout summer. Then bring it back inside for a second or even third season before planting it outside in the ground.

Poinsettia Care Through Winter (and Beyond)

This iconic holiday plant has tropical roots. Get tips on keeping your poinsettia looking its best all year.

Q&A: Planting a Live Christmas Tree

Tips for maintaining a live Christmas tree indoors.

How to Make a Felt Poinsettia

Dress up your walls, banisters or doors this holiday season with handmade felt poinsettias.

Christmas Flowers

Deck the halls with beautiful potted Christmas flowers. These easy-growing bloomers add fresh color to holiday celebrations.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.