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Exploring the Beautiful Varieties of Poinsettias

You will see poinsettias all over during Christmas time. But did you know the striking red ‘flowers’ are actually the plant’s modified leaves called bracts? 


The flowers themselves are small, and it is the bright red bracts that everyone loves on these plants, often called Christmas flowers. 

How to Care For Poinsettias


Poinsettias require at least six hours of bright light per day, but indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight may burn the leaves. Morning sun tend to be better for the poinsettias if you can’t keep them out of direct sunlight the whole day, as afternoon sun is too intense for these plants.


Poinsettias need to be watered regularly once the soil is dry to touch, but not every day. Usually, watering poinsettias one time a week and allowing the plant to dry in between waterings  will be sufficient.


Poinsettias need a loose, slightly acidic, well-draining soil to thrive. They grow best in moist soil enriched with organic compost to assist with drainage.


Poinsettias prefer a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing your plant close to a window or where sudden temperature drops can occur, such as a cold draft.


Poinsettias are tropical plants and appreciate a light daily misting. Keep the plant on a tray of water with rocks or gravel to increase the humidity, if you cannot spray it daily during its growing season. 


Poinsettias do well with an all-purpose fertilizer and only need to fertilized during the spring and summer about once a month.

Tips for Growing Poinsettias

1. Fertilize When You See New Growth

Poinsettias only require monthly fertilization when new growth starts, usually in spring. Some variants that are unique in color might require more frequent fertilizing. 

2. Water Thoroughly

Water the poinsettia as soon as the soil is dry, and do so thoroughly. Ensure the poinsettia has free-draining soil if it is in a pot. Avoid the plant standing in water as it may cause fungal problems.

3. Reduce Light for Color

If you would like your poinsettias to become red, pink, or white at the bracts, you need to reduce the light it receives. Do so slowly and systematically as the holiday season approaches to avoid the plant going into shock and dying. 

When to Plant Poinsettias

Only transplant your poinsettia during spring and summer. If you want to re-pot it, move up to a pt 2-4 inches bigger in size, no more. Ensure you have free-draining soil to avoid the plant standing in water and developing root rot. You can plant them directly into a partially sunny garden bed if you want some poinsettia hedges. 

When to Cut Ppinsettias

You can cut your poinsettia once it has started growing and becoming leggy to promote more compact growth. You can also trim away any dead leaves as soon as you see them appear. 

If you don’t want your poinsettia to become bushy, trim away extra stems during spring. 

20 Types of Poinsettias 

Unique Poinsettias

1. Whitestar

poinsettia white star
Longfellow’s Greenhouses

One of the first white poinsettias to become popular was the Euphorbia pulcherrima Whitestar. Neverland has some general care instructions to follow if you want to keep your Whitestar poinsettia in good shape. 

2. Ice Punch

Ice Punch
Garden Mill

Candide has a great overview of the Euphorbia pulcherrima Ice Star cultivar. Ice Punch has a streak of white in the center of the pink-red bracts. It requires no different maintenance than the other variants of the Poinsettias. 

3. Marco Polo

Marco Polo
Powell Gardens

The soft salmon-pink color of the Euphorbia pulcherrima Marco Polo makes it a unique poinsettia to add to your Christmas dinner table. It can reach a spread of 50cm, according to My Flowers

4. Sonora White Glitter

Sonora White Glitter
Powell Gardens

Global Flowers identifies the Euphorbia pulcherrima Sonora White Glitter as a poinsettia with deep red leaves, with white specks all over, making it a stand-out plant to have. Its leaves have pointed ends and lobed leaf margins. 

5. Ice Crystal

Ice Crystal
Dewar Nurseries

Easy to grow and with a vigorous growth pattern, the Euphorbia pulcherrima Ice Crystal has a unique weathered look, so mix it with a few other solid-colored poinsettias for a beautiful Christmas arrangement. Read more at Dummen Orange.

6. Christmas Beauty Marble

Christmas Beauty Marble

Ball Seed, the cultivar of the Christmas Beauty Marble variant of Euphorbia pulcherrima, has ensured a unique marbled pink and white poinsettia, ideal if you’re looking for a more unique look in your next poinsettia.

7. Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Sunset Magazine

You can expect some bright white to soft yellow colored bracts on the Euphorbia pulcherrima Polar Bear. It is ideal for the middle of the festive season and grows with a normal-medium amount of vigor, according to Dummen Orange.

Pink Poinsettias

8. Mars Pink

Mars Pink

This uniform deep-pink poinsettia is ideal for a table arrangement since it grows in a v-shape. Syngenta Flowers, also the cultivar of Euphorbia pulcherrima Mars Pink, has a quick overview of the plant.

9. Princettia Pink

Princettia Pink

According to Princettia, the Euphorbia pulcherrima Princettia Pink is a vigorous and well-branching poinsettia with a soft pink color. It grows compact, ideal for containers or small gardens.

10. Peppermint Twist

poinsettia  Peppermint Twist
Powell Gardens

With light-pink bracts that are curved and more rose-shaped, the Peppermint Twist variant of the Euphorbia pulcherrima you can count on this poinsettia to add a unique color and texture to your collection. Read more about them at the Plants Database

11. Carousel Pink

Carousel Pink

Wavy and frilly in the color pink, the carousel pink is not only unusual in its pink color, but the texture of the leaves adds a show-stopping element to this variant of the Euphorbia pulcherrima. 

Dave’s Garden has a brief overview of this poinsettia. 

12. Premium Picasso

Premium Picasso

Euphorbia pulcherrima Premium Picasso is a pink cultivar with fine cream specks on the bracts.

It is an early-season poinsettia with a compact vigor, as noted on Dümmer Orange

13. Christmas Beauty Nostalgia

Christmas Beauty Nostalgia
Jungle Boogie

The soft pink on the bracts of the Euphorbia pulcherrima Christmas Beauty Nostalgia fades into a light green that gives it a glowing effect. It grows about 20-30cm high, according to Global Flowers

14. Luv u Pink

Luv u Pink
mytripsandraces via Flickr

If you’re looking for the brightest pink poinsettia, the Euphorbia pulcherrima Luv u Pink is the brightest pink you can find. It will require an acidic to neutral pH soil, according to Garden Tags

Red Poinsettia

15. Cortez Burgundy

Cortez Burgundy
Harry P. Leu Gardens

Described as a legendary novelty color by the cultivars Syngenta Plants of the Euphorbia pulcherrima Cortez Brugendy, you can expect a deep wine-red color on this poinsettia plant with vigorous growth and medium height. 

16. Valentine


The Euphorbia pulcherrima Valentine has a unique look with its vibrant red bracts that are rose shaped. The foliage is curved, rather than the flat foliage found on some other varieties, and you can read more about them at  Ball Seed.

17. Orion Early Red

Orion Early Red

The Euphorbia pulcherrima Orion Early Red is ready early in the season, ideal if you want to start decoration right after Thanksgiving. You can find out more about this variant from the cultivar Syngenta Plants

18. Prestige Red

Prestige Red
Big Bloomers Flower Farm

Known for its large and bright red bracts, the Euphorbia pulcherrima Prestige Red is the most well-known poinsettia and most readily available. The Chicago Botanical Gardens wrote a comprehensive overview of this variant. 

19. Mira Red

Mira Red

The pointed ends and lobed foliage give an extra touch of elegance to the Euphorbia pulcherrima Mira Red cultivar from Syngenta Plants. It is a classic rich red, perfect if you only want one of these plants around. 

20. Prestige Maroon

Prestige Maroon

If you’re looking for a rich and deep red, Euphorbia pulcherrima Prestige Maroon will be a perfect fit for your needs. It is a mid-season poinsettia with a good predictable growth pattern, as mentioned on Dümmer Orange


What Are the Benefits of a Poinsettia Plant?

Some of the benefits of the poinsettia plant are using the sap to increase breast milk production, treat fever, and even as a pain killer. It is important to note the latex in the sap might be an irritant to the skin and cause gastrointestinal stress.

How Long Can You Keep a Poinsettia Alive?

Poinsettias are perennial plants, so if you take care of them, you can keep them alive for years. 
Cuttings will need to be rooted first before they can be planted and grown year-round.

Can Poinsettias Be Left Out in the Cold?

Poinsettias do not tolerate the cold very well. Their leaves will droop and begin to die. These plants are not frost-hardy since they are native tropical plants. Keep them above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and out of cold drafts to keep them alive. 

Are Poinsettias Poisonous?

The sap of the poinsettias is known to be a skin irritant and may cause gastrointestinal distress if ingested by humans, cats, and dogs. 

Will Poinsettias Turn Red Again?

Yes, poinsettias will turn red again if you slowly restrict the amount of light the plant receive during winter. With restricted light, the bracts will turn red. 

What Does a Poinsettia Symbolize?

Poinsettias are a symbol of Christmas time and often seen during the holiday season. These plants represent good will and community spirit. 


Poinsettias are often on the dinner table or porch around the holidays, but they don’t need to always be red. The perennial bush comes in various colors to make your holiday arrangements interesting. If you take good care of them, they will be bright and colorful every holiday to come.