En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - December 01, 2008

From: Lafayette, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Cross pollination of non-native poinsettia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a poinsettia that I have had for about 5 yrs. that has always flowered red. Last Christmas I was given one that was white. During the summer I put both plants in my green house side by side. This year my red poinsettia appears to be blooming white (it just has started blooming). Is it possible the plants cross pollinated? If so, is there a way to change it back to red next year?

ANSWER:

There is a poinsettia native to North America, Euphorbia cyathophora (fire on the mountain). A member of the Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) family of plants, it is found growing in the wild in Georgia. However, we are sure that what you have are greenhouse propagated and grown plants whose origins are in Mexico and South America. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are all about plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown, but since most house plants are non-native tropicals that can endure the extreme conditions of living indoors, we will try to find some information for you.

Poinsettias are normally considered house plant annuals, used for gifts and then allowed to die. They can sometimes be kept alive a year, but results are often disappointing. Propagation is normally by cuttings, and the plant has been hybridized so extensively that there is really no way of knowing how the white flowers showed up nor whether the flowers will go back to red in the future. This Ohio State University Extension website Poinsettia Care in the Home will hopefully give you some more information.


Euphorbia cyathophora

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Problems with Indian Hawthorn in Richmond TX
February 19, 2010 - I have a lot of Indian Hawthorne plants. I have noticed over the last couple of years that sporadically one will develope a brown area that looks like it was burned or had gasoline poured on it. The...
view the full question and answer

Problems with azaleas
April 22, 2008 - Last summer I planted 10 evergreen Azaleas "Hino Crimson" I sprinkled a little rhody fertilizer in their holes before planting and gave them plenty of water all summer. They are all doing fine excep...
view the full question and answer

Proper deadheading of non-natives Arabian Jasmine and Crape myrtle from Las Vegas
July 23, 2010 - Advise please on proper deadheading of Arabian Jasmine, and of Crape Myrtle. They are both blooming great but I want to know once the petals fall should I deadhead and will it help them to bloom agai...
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor Lemon Cypress
November 30, 2008 - How do I care for an indoor Lemon Cypress tree?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center