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Poinsettia pointers

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Pink poinsettias being tested by NCSUPhoto by Natalie Hampton

Poinsettias remain a perennially popular holiday plant, both for gifts and decorations. But how do much water do they need? And how can you get them to flower again? Cooperative Extension at N.C. State University provides answers to these and other timely topics on its poinsettia portal at

N.C. State University is one of the university homes to the North American poinsettia cultivar trials. As part of that trial, the university’s Horticultural Field Lab grows 25,000 plants each year to help dealers, growers and brokers identify the best breeds.

N.C. State participates in the trials because poinsettias are an important business here. In 2111, with 4.4 million plants, North Carolina ranked second among states for poinsettia production.

The Extension poinsettia portal contains information targeted for growers and for consumers. On its “Homeowners” site, you’ll find caring for, decorating with and growing poinsettias at home. And you’ll find the answer to the longstanding question of whether these plants are poisonous to people.

And, for the record: No, they’re not poisonous. But if you’re allergic to latex, you will want to take special care around poinsettias. The plants, which are in the same same plant family as natural rubber latex, can trigger a reaction in some people.

-D. Shore 


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