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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - September 06, 2013

From: Houston, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Non-Natives, Propagation, Shrubs
Title: Propagation of poinsettias in water from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Pointsettias - we have a broken branch that is thriving in a jar of water with new leaves and additional small branches. When we plant the stem in dirt and even a muck, the growth starts to wither. Any way that we can generate a thriving plant from this growth?

ANSWER:

There is one poinsettia, Euphorbia cyathophora (Wild poinsettia), native to North America and this USDA Plant Profile Map shows it grows naturally in Harris County. You can see the pictures below from our Image Gallery to judge whether this is the plant you have. On the other hand, if you purchased the parent plant, it is more likely that you have Euphorbia pulcherimma, which is indigenous to Mexico and Central America and therefore falls out of the realm of our expertise, which is plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown; in your case, Harris County TX. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that this plant grows natively nowhere in North America.  Both the native and the non-native belong to the Euphorbiaceae family and propagation methods should be similar.

This article from Floridata on the culture of the non-native poinsettia has this paragraph on propagation:

"Propagation: Take cuttings in summer. Use rooting hormone on 8 inch tip cuttings. An easier way is to take cuttings of woody stem about 18 in (45.7 cm) long, stick in ground and keep moist (not wet) for several weeks."

From Dave's Garden, here is an article on the native Euphorbia cyathophora (Wild poinsettia) giving these propagation instructions:

"Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost"

It would, then, appear that neither the native nor the non-native plant with the common name "poinsettia" can be propagated by placing cuttings in water.



 

From the Image Gallery


Wild poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora

Wild poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora

Wild poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora

More Shrubs Questions

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014 - I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on mockoranges
May 25, 2005 - I live in Colorado where it is common to have 1 or 2 late frosts. I planted 4 littleleaf mockoranges (Philadelphus Microphyllus) 2 years ago and they are pretty much in full sun most of the day. I h...
view the full question and answer

Will watering before a freeze protect an esperanza from a freeze from San Angelo, TX
November 22, 2013 - Would it help to lightly water esperanza before I cover it prior to freeze and/or sleet?
view the full question and answer

Hardy shrub for Canton, MI
May 06, 2009 - I have an 8' x 8' area between my front walk and driveway. I am interested in filling up the space (especially in height) with a shrub or tree. This area gets a lot of wind in the cold MI winter,...
view the full question and answer

Connecticut Plants for a Steep Slope
September 09, 2015 - I am looking for the best plants to retain a steep, dry, fully shaded slope in zone 5, Connecticut. It must be deer resistant. Plant height is not a factor.
view the full question and answer

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