Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 Non-Natives Questions

Care of non-native Navel Orange tree
January 27, 2008 - What kind of care does a Navel Orange tree need? Mine looks really bad this year, not much fruit and small fruit.
view the full question and answer

Possibly escaped non-native Buddleja davidii in Missouri
March 15, 2006 - About 3 years ago my wife and I were traveling thru southeastern Missouri and stopped at a road side rest station on Interstate 44. While we were there we noticed a shrub about 4 to 5 feet tall with p...
view the full question and answer

Dividing non-native daffodils from Austin
April 15, 2012 - The foliage on my daffodils is lush and healthy, but I have no blooms. Should I divide them?
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

Queen Palm Fertilization in Arizona
March 06, 2012 - I placed standard Miracle Grow in a root feeder device and inserted into the ground around all of my Queen Palms. Why have they taken a turn for the worse (furled tips on all new branches) Can you ov...
view the full question and answer

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