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Wild Poinsettia / Painted Leaf


Native Garden

​​​​​Wild Poinsettia

  • Common Name: Wild Poinsettia, Painted leaf, dwarf poinsettia, Fire on the mountain
  • Scientific Name: Euphorbia cyathophora
  • Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
  • Origin: The America's
  • ​​Height:  2 to 3 ft
  • Width:  1 to 2 ft
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: USDA zones 8A through 11
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers moist or dry, well-drained, sandy soils with a neutral pH between 6.1 and 7.8.
  • Moisture: Mesic water needs – soil should ideally remain moist, but it can still grow in dry soil. It is tolerant of humid conditions and can handle occasional flooding.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate – tolerant of short dry periods.
  • Pests/Diseases: No pests and diseases are of concern.
  • Growing conditions: A low maintenance plant, it can be grown in both sunny and shady areas as long as it gets a few hours of sunlight per day. Although it prefers sandy soils, it is known to grow in many types of soil. It is very hardy and can survive both droughts and floods. It often spreads very aggressively, so keep an eye on it and prune it when needed so that it doesn’t become too weedy.
  • Characteristics: This plant is an annual or short-lived perennial and grows to be a short, squat shrub with dense foliage. Stems are green and herbaceous. Leaves grow alternately and vary in shape, even on the same plant; some leaves are pointed with smooth edges, while others are lobed and toothed. Leaves near the tip of the stem have bright red blotches near the base (these leaves mainly appear in winter). The flowers, which are small and yellow, grow in clusters at the tips of branches. Seeds grow in small capsules.
  • Propagation: By seed or by cuttings.
  • Wildlife: Bees, butterflies, and moths are attracted to the flowers. Generally avoided by herbivores due to the irritating sap.
  • Facts: The leaves and stems contain a white sap that can irritate the eyes and skin. It has a wide distribution and is found in disturbed sites, roadsides, waste areas, and agricultural lands.
  • Designer considerations: Its bright foliage makes it a good choice for a specimen planting, especially for some color during winter. Its short, round growth habit also makes it a good border or ground cover plant – just make sure it doesn’t spread and outcompete nearby plants.​​