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Euphorbia pulcherrima

Christmas Star, Poinsettia

The Poinsettia or Christmas Star (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is the most popular winter flowering indoor plant not only here in Germany. There are many cultivars with white, yellow, green or multicoloured bracts available.

With a little bit of care, the Christmas Star continue to bloom from December into May. To get it to bloom again, it needs a short-day period of 6-9 weeks.

Christmas Star

A “classic” Christmas Star cultivar with red bracts. It’s the plant shown in the right column 12 months later.

Care
  1. Lighting: sunny to light shaded
  2. Soil: a regular mix or a cacti mix
  3. Watering: allow to nearly dry between the waterings
  4. Feeding: from April to September
  5. Temperature: room temperature the year round with a winter minimum of 10 °C/50 °F
  6. Propagation: cuttings

Lighting: Indoor the Christmas Star grows best if located sunny and bright the year round.

During the hot summer weeks young plants or specimens in small pots should be protected from afternoon sun. The pot heats quickly, soil dries out and the leaves sag.

Soil: A regular mix for indoor or container plants such as an organic cacti soil can be used. If You tend to overwater merge it with some sand, calcined clay or perlite.

Watering: Keep the compost moist but not soggy. Let it moderately dry before watering again.

Feeding: Liquid plant food can be given monthly from spring to summer and every 8 weeks during fall/winter. Granular fertilizer or spikes every 3 to six months.

In the first year after purchase or repotting the Christmas Star does not have to be fertilized.

Euphorbia pulcherrima

Euphorbia pulcherrima – unnamed cultivar with yellow bracts.

Temperature: Euphorbia pulcherrima likes average warmth the year round with a winter minimum of 10 °C/50 °F and 15-20 °C/59-68 °F during the flowering season.

Reblooming: For blooming around the holidays, the Poinsettia needs a 6 to 8 weeks short-day period with 11-14 hours of uninterrupted darkness. It has to be protected from garden lamps or streetlights. In the evening it can be covered with a cardboard box or a black polythene bag.

Propagation

Cuttings root rapidly at temperatures around 20-25 °C/68-77 °F.

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