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

Problem with non-native Houttuynia cordata (chameleon)
January 30, 2012 - I have a Houttuynia cordata chameleon plant in a clay pot. My zone is 9b and my yard is partial sun. Up until January, it was thriving. Now, it is dead. I think the cold killed it. I kept it moist at ...
view the full question and answer

How to care for non-native gardenia
May 10, 2010 - My gardenia is about 20 years old about 5 feet tall and for the first time is leggy looking this year, not too many leaves and they don't look real healthy. Do I need to cut it back some. Last year...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Eugenia in Scottsdale AZ
June 02, 2012 - I have 5 eugenia topiaries in my courtyard in pots..I notice as the days here in Phoenix get hotter and dry (as usual) they are starting to look bad, even though they are under a shelter out of the di...
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native calla lilies
July 15, 2005 - How should I protect my calla lilies during the winter? If it helps you any, I live in South Carolina. And also will too much water hurt them? We have had massive amounts of rain.
view the full question and answer

Removal of thistles from Columbus TX
May 20, 2014 - I am sorry if you have an answer in FAQs but I could not find it. We recently cleared property near Columbus Texas of many cedars (ash junipers). This spring we experienced a profusion of thistle -...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center