Poinsettia Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
poinsettia 'Autumn Leaves'


Autumn Leaves is a striking variety of the widely recognized holiday plant, commonly known as the poinsettia. This particular cultivar is known for its distinctive bracts, which are the showy, leaf-like parts that many people mistakenly believe are the plant's flowers. The bracts of Autumn Leaves transition from green to a beautiful mix of colors that resemble the hues of fall foliage. They start out green and as they mature, they change to a warm blend of cream, yellow, and soft pink tones. In the center of the whorl of bracts, you'll find the true flowers, which are small and yellowish, not particularly showy, and clustered in the middle. These are called cyathia. The plant itself has dark green leaves that contrast nicely with the lighter colored bracts, making the Autumn Leaves variety stand out. The overall impression is one of a mellow autumnal display, hence the name 'Autumn Leaves'. It's favored for its unique coloration, which offers an alternative to the more traditional solid red or white poinsettia varieties that are commonly seen during the holiday season. The Autumn Leaves poinsettia lends itself well to festive décor, particularly in settings that aim for a less conventional holiday color palette.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Poinsettia, Christmas Flower, Christmas Star, Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena, Lobster Flower, Flame Leaf Flower.

    • Common names

      Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name for Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves' is Poinsettia. Poinsettias are generally considered to have a low toxicity for humans. However, if ingested, the plant's sap may cause mild irritation to the mouth and stomach, possibly leading to nausea and vomiting. Contact with the skin can result in irritation, redness, and swelling. If the sap comes in contact with the eyes, it may cause pain and temporary vision blurring.

    • To pets

      The common name for Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves' is Poinsettia. Poinsettias are also known to be toxic to pets, particularly cats and dogs. If a pet ingests the plant, the most common symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea. The milky white sap contains chemicals known as diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents, which can cause irritation in the mouth and stomach of the animal leading to the symptoms mentioned. While toxicity is generally considered mild, it is advisable to keep poinsettias out of reach of pets and monitor them for any signs of distress after coming into contact with the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Decorative Appeal: Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves', commonly known as the Poinsettia, is valued for its striking red and yellow foliage that resembles autumn leaves, adding aesthetic value to indoor and outdoor settings.
    • Holiday Tradition: The Poinsettia is a traditional Christmas decoration, widely used during the holiday season to create festive environments.
    • Cultivar Diversity: As a cultivar, 'Autumn Leaves' offers unique coloration, providing variety for collectors and enthusiasts seeking different types of Poinsettias.
    • Psychological Benefits: Incorporating Poinsettias into décor can improve mood and create a sense of well-being during the winter months, when colorful blooms are scarce.
    • Easy to Grow: This plant is relatively easy to care for, making it accessible for gardeners of all skill levels to cultivate successfully.
    • Educational Interest: Gardeners can learn about photoperiodism, the process that triggers the Poinsettia's color change, which is an interesting phenomenon in botany.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves', commonly known as Poinsettia, can be used for creating natural dyes due to their colorful bracts.
    • The Poinsettia's sap can be used as a hair dye, although it should be used with caution due to its potential skin-irritating properties.
    • In some rural areas, the stems of Poinsettias are used for making small handicrafts or as a binding material in traditional crafts.
    • The plant can be included in educational activities to demonstrate photoperiodism — the response of plants to the relative lengths of light and dark periods.
    • Poinsettia leaves can serve as a colorful, festive mulch for garden beds during the holiday season, breaking down over time to enrich the soil.
    • Their distinctive red foliage can be used as a natural indicator in pH experiments, as the red color can change shades when exposed to different pH levels.
    • Poinsettia bracts can be pressed and used in art projects, such as making greeting cards or bookmarks, especially around the winter holidays.
    • The plant can be used as a living seasonal decoration for aquariums, but only their leaves submerged for a festive look, and ensuring no parts are ingested by fish.
    • Used in costume design, Poinsettia bracts can be fashioned into decorative elements for dresses or headpieces during Christmas plays or festivities.
    • Poinsettia plants can be strategically placed in gardens to add winter interest and color, as they naturally bloom during December in the Northern Hemisphere.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Poinsettia is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Poinsettia is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Christmas Season: Euphorbia pulcherrima, more widely known as Poinsettia, is synonymous with the holiday season. Its vibrant bracts resemble the shape of the Star of Bethlehem and symbolize good cheer and success, while encouraging celebration.
    • Christian Lore: In Christian symbolism, the Poinsettia's red color represents the blood of Christ, and the shape of the leaves, which can look like a star, symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Wise Men to Jesus.
    • Red leaves symbolize new beginnings and Pure love: The transformation of its leaves from green to red symbolizes new beginnings as each year closes and a new one begins, and the bright red bracts are often associated with purity and love.
    • White leaves symbolize peace and hope: The rarer varieties with white bracts represent peace and hope, bringing a calm and serene message during the often hectic holiday season.
    • Gift of Magi: The giving of Poinsettias during the holiday season can be seen as synonymous with the giving nature of the Magi, symbolizing a season of giving and sharing.
    • Success and Celebration: The plant is often given as a gift in the belief that it will bring the receiver success and celebration, especially during the holiday season.
    • Mexican Legend: According to a Mexican legend, Poinsettias sprang from the ground where a young child, too poor to provide a gift for Jesus's birthday, had wept. The plant thus symbolizes the idea that even the most modest gift, given with love, is acceptable.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Poinsettias require even moisture and should not be allowed to dry out entirely, nor should they be left in standing water. Water this variety when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch, approximately once a week, with about 12-16 ounces of water. During winter, reduce watering frequency as the plant goes into dormancy and growth slows down. Ensure good drainage to prevent root rot, and avoid splashing the leaves to prevent fungal diseases. In high humidity, you may need to water less frequently.

  • sunLight

    Poinsettias perform best in bright, indirect sunlight, such as near a south or east-facing window. These plants need about 6-8 hours of daylight daily. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so make sure to filter intense sun through a sheer curtain or place the plant in partial shade.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Poinsettias prefer temperatures between 60 - 70°F during the day and not below 50°F at night. They can tolerate a range between 50 - 70°F, but prolonged exposure to temperatures outside of this range can cause damage. The ideal condition is a consistent temperature, avoiding drafts, sudden temperature changes, or exposure to extreme heat or cold.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune poinsettias to maintain their shape and encourage bushier growth. Trim back the plant in spring, after the blooming period has finished, removing about one-third of the plant. Pruning can be done again in mid-summer to keep the plant compact. Pruning is essential to prompt the plant to develop more branches, which leads to more blooms during the holiday season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Poinsettias require well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. A good soil mix for poinsettias like 'Autumn Leaves' can be made using one part peat moss, one part perlite, and one part potting soil to ensure adequate drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    Poinsettias like 'Autumn Leaves' should be repotted every 1 to 2 years to replenish soil nutrients and to accommodate root growth. It is best to repot them in spring after the blooming season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Poinsettias like 'Autumn Leaves' prefer a humidity level of around 40-60%. They thrive in environments that aren't too dry but should be protected from excess moisture to prevent leaf drop.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place poinsettias in bright, indirect light and away from drafts.

    • Outdoor

      Grow in sheltered areas with indirect light and no frost.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Autumn Leaves', commonly known as Poinsettia, begins its life cycle from seeds or cuttings, with seedlings or rooted cuttings being potted for growth. After potting, the plant enters a growth phase where leaves and stems develop rapidly under the right conditions of warmth and light. As the plant matures, it requires a period of darkness (about 14 hours per night for at least six weeks) to initiate the development of its characteristic colorful bracts, which is a critical stage in its life cycle known as photoperiodism. Following the bract coloration, the Poinsettia comes into full bloom, showcasing its vibrant autumnal leaves which are actually modified leaves called bracts, while the actual flowers are the small, yellow clusters in the center called cyathia. After the blooming period, the Poinsettia enters a dormancy stage, where leaves may drop and the plant requires less water. With proper care, the plant can be induced to rebloom in subsequent years, completing its perennial life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Poinsettia 'Autumn Leaves', or indeed any poinsettia, is through cuttings. This typically takes place in late spring to early summer, when the plant is actively growing. The process involves cutting a stem from the mother plant, approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in length, ensuring that there are several leaves on the cutting. The lower leaves are removed, and the cut end is dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root growth. The cutting is then placed in a well-draining soil mix and kept consistently moist but not overly wet. It's important to provide a high humidity environment for the cutting by covering it with a plastic bag or placing it in a propagator, and kept under indirect light until roots have developed, usually within several weeks. Once the roots are established, the new poinsettia plant can be transplanted into a larger pot and gradually acclimated to less humid conditions.