Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
44 ratings

Thursday - June 09, 2005

From: Seattle, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of poinsettias
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

How do I grow poinsettias from seed pods?

ANSWER:

Christmas poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima is native to Mexico. Other poinsettias, Euphorbia spp. are native to various parts of the US.

Poinsettias are almost always propagated vegetatively by stem cuttings. However, they certainly can be grown from seed as many new cultivars are developed by cross pollination of existing strains to produce plants with some characteristics from each parent.

Collect the seed pods from your poinsettia plants when they begin to turn brown. Store them in a closed paper bag until the seed pods have completely dried. During this period, the seeds are likely to pop right out of the pods and end up on the bottom of the bag. At that point they are ready to sow.

Poinsettia seeds do not need any special treatment to germinate. Nor do they need light. Sow your seeds, one per small pot, just below the soil surface in evenly moist potting soil. Keep in a warm area of subdued light (no direct sunlight!) and make sure the surface of the soil does not get too dry. In a short time, likely one to two weeks, your poinsettia seeds should germinate and the new seedlings begin to grow. Young seedlings are particularly susceptible to fungal diseases, so make sure there is some air movement around the young plants until they grow several leaves.

While it is possible that you may find a wonderful new cultivar of poinsettia amongst your seedlings, sadly, it is far more likely that the new plants will be quite inferior -- horticulturally speaking -- to either of their parents.
 

More Propagation Questions

Survival of bluebonnets in extreme heat from Tioga TX
September 03, 2011 - Is there anything I can do for my bluebonnet patch in this extreme drought for the rest of the summer and fall? Should I have watered this summer? I had a good show and think seeding was fairly normal...
view the full question and answer

Storing seed from Pickerel weed
October 28, 2005 - What's the best method to store seed from Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) and Arrowhead (Sagattaria latifolia)? Should it be kept wet?
view the full question and answer

Propagating American Beautyberry in Medina OH
October 05, 2009 - I brought home a small branch of American beautyberries when I was vacationing in N. Carolina. How do I go about planting them and will they survive in the Cleveland area?
view the full question and answer

Seeds from opuntia
May 11, 2009 - How do I get seeds from opuntias?
view the full question and answer

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.