After their distinctive and colorful bracts are gone, poinsettias can become handsome foliar houseplants or tall and lanky blooming shrubbery.

The tiny, yellow buds at the center of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) blooms are actually the unimpressive flowers. The colorful red, white, pink or rarely pale orange bracts surrounding these flowers are merely colorful leaves. Some varieties have marbled, blotched or spotted bracts. Compact potted plants that are mostly less than two feet tall and broad can get quite lanky and taller than ten feet in the garden. The dark green leaves are about three to five inches long.

2 thoughts on “Poinsettia

    1. Although they can live in the garden here, they should get coppiced annually after winter. Without coppicing, they get shabby with frost damage. The weather does not get very cold here, and frost is mild, but they dislike even minor frost. They are not very pretty, even at their best. However, they are a bit prettier farther south, and get tall and lanky if not coppiced. They used to grow in the medians of freeways in Santa Barbara and San Diego, where they were nicely colorful. No one minded their shabbiness on the freeway.

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