Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima): health benefits and care

Euphorbia pulcherrima or poinsettia

Euphorbia pulcherrima or poinsettia is an indoor decorating plant originating in Mexico and scientifically known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. Another name is the holiday plant as it blooms during the month of October. Poinsettia has a holy significance in Christian culture as it blooms during the Christmas season and therefore the red leaves of this plant represent the blood of Christ to the Catholics (1). Therefore many people established this plant as a holiday traditional plant in their houses.

Besides its aesthetic and cultural value, the Poinsettia also holds an important scientific value as this plan acts as an indoor air purifier hence is also beneficial to health.

Health benefits of Poinsettia

  1. Poinsettia helps in removing formaldehyde which is the primary indoor air pollutant. Studies were done in 1991 on three indoor plants namely Poinsettia, Azalea, and Dieffenbachia show that Poinsettia helps in removing or absorbing formaldehyde from the sealed chamber (3). Wooden furniture, paints, cosmetics, wallpapers, and garage products are the main source of formaldehyde an indoor air pollutant (4).
  2. Besides cleaning formaldehyde from the indoor, poinsettia also gives fresh clean air thus soothes the interior environment.

Side effects of Poinsettia

There are not much-known side effects of Poinsettia. The plant is not poisonous and hence can be used as an indoor plant is safe. The milky sap of poinsettia may cause allergy in some people besides this the plant as a whole is not poisonous.

How to take care of Poinsettia


  1. Like other indoor plants, Poinsettia also needs proper indirect bright sunlight for at least 4 to 5 hours a day. Therefore do not place the plant in dark corners without proper light.
  2. Water the plants once every 3 days or water whenever the topsoil gets dry. Do not over irrigate the plants because excess water may rot the root.
  3. Fertilize the plant after blooming. The plant does not require excessive fertilization. Prune the plant in the month of June or July in order to rebloom the plant for the next season (2).
  4. Overall the maintenance of Poinsettia is very easy if regular care is taken. Avoid direct sunlight in order to maintain the bract color of the plant.

Overall summary

  1. Poinsettia is a decorating indoor air purifying plant.
  2. Proper indirect sunlight with water is essential for Poinsettia.
  3. The plant is not poisonous.