By Melanie Griffiths published
There are so many wonderful poinsettias for Christmas that will add seasonal magic to your holiday decor.
With their vivid colors, they make one of the best winter house plants, and some varieties will even flower into the spring. Although, the plants’ distinguishing 'flowers' are actually leaf bracts.
While you may think of poinsettias as being traditional bright red, there are over 100 varieties to choose from in an array of colors, with new ones being created by growers every year.
However, poinsettias don't have a good reputation for longevity. ‘This means the top priority for growers has been to increase the plants' lifespan in the home,’ adds Pabst
‘Back in the day, growers would place ferns or pine boughs in the pot along with the poinsettia to provide greenery, because the poinsettia leaves would fall off so quickly,' says Jim Faust, poinsettia expert, and associate professor of floriculture physiology at Clemson University.
'However, breeding has dramatically improved their performance and today's poinsettias will last well into January if watered properly and provided enough sunlight.’
To get the best out of them, good poinsettia care is key. ‘As a plant that's native to Mexico, poinsettias prefer warm, light conditions. While this means that it's fine to keep it close to a radiator, try to avoid any drafts,’ says Naomi Robinson, founder of Houseplant Authority.
The best poinsettias for Christmas cheer
When choosing the best poinsettias for Christmas, you will find there is a wide color range available. However, the plant’s health and quality is key.
‘When selecting a poinsettia, look for a full cluster of cyathia – the true flowers in the middle of the red bracts. If the cyathia have fallen out, then the plant has passed its peak performance,’ says Faust.
‘Also, the lower leaves of the plant should look fresh and dark green. Yellow, faded leaves are indicators of plants that are nearing the end of their potential shelf life.’
‘Buy your poinsettia from an indoor store rather than an outdoor stall,’ adds Robinson. 'This is because poinsettias don't like lower temperatures and so the plant won't last as long.'
For this reason, she also advises that you should get your new poinsettia home from the store as quickly as possible.
Follow these rules and your chosen poinsettia should keep its leaves through the festive season and beyond.
1. Christmas Eve
‘Our favorite poinsettia variety is always red,’ says Steve Chan from Rocket Farms. ‘We enjoy creating a bold statement, utilizing special red varieties like Christmas Eve.’
This vibrant variety holds its color well, blooms through winter, and has a good lifespan.
‘It’s one of the poinsettias in the Christmas series that has striking bright reds and big bracts – Christmas Feelings is another great red poinsettia.
'I also like Aurora, and for this season, we introduced an interesting variety called Holly Berry, which has a unique holly leaf-like feature.’
2. Plum Pudding
‘Plum Pudding is such a unique and interesting poinsettia that produces deep purple bracts,’ says Andrew Gaumond, horticulturist, botanist, and director of content at Petal Republic.
‘These make quite the contrast alongside traditional reds during the Christmas season.'
The light levels the plant receives will affect how purple the bracts appear – for best results it should be grown in warm, shaded conditions.
‘Mirage is the perfect poinsettia all round – this beauty has stunning red bracts and that perfect red shine,’ says Edwin Oortwijn from global poinsettia grower Syngenta Flowers.
This award-winning variety grows well in small to medium-sized pots, and has a good lifespan.
Mirage flowers from late November, and makes an impact from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
4. Alaska White
‘The new Alaska White variety is known to be the purest white poinsettia produced,’ says Chan.
A vigorous, upright poinsettia, Alaska White will add a magical winter air to your home, and blooms through fall and winter. Its snowy white bracts contrast beautifully with the plant’s dark green leaves.
‘This variety pairs exceptionally well with other traditional Pink, Jingle Bell, and Marble color varieties,’ adds Chan.
5. Jingle Bell Rock
‘Jingle Bell Rock is a really lovely variety with a mixture of cream and bright red with glossy dark green foliage,’ says Pol Bishop at Fantastic Gardeners.
Its variegated bracts mean Jingle Bell Rock really stands out, and makes a beautiful complement to single-color varieties.
This poinsettia likes to be positioned in partial shade and requires little watering.
6. Prestige Red
‘Perhaps the most popular and well known type of poinsettia typically sold and grown around the holiday season, Prestige Red is famed for its radiant red colors,’ says Gaumond.
Prestige is celebrated by many growers for its strong branching structures and flexibility for sizing, while homeowners love its iconic Christmas color. ‘It will bloom indoors throughout the darkest of winter months.’
Bishop also favors this variety: 'Prestige is such a bright and deep shade of red, which makes it a perfect choice for the festive season.'
7. Candy Cinnamon
From the Candy family of sweet-colored poinsettias, Candy Cinnamon stands out with its dappled pink tones.
‘Candy Cinnamon is a unique color and a strong grower with a healthy root system,’ says Oortwijn.
It adds a softer look than red poinsettias and has the feel of a summer flower.
8. Golden Glo
A bold yellow poinsettia, Golden Glo adds warmth and richness to a Christmas decorating scheme, and is a good complement to both red and white poinsettias.
It's more tolerant of heat than many other varieties, and keeps a compact shape.
9. Luv U Pink
For something different to your typical poinsettias for Christmas, look at the new hybrid varieties, including the vibrant Luv U Pink.
'The new hybrid poinsettias are really exciting. They are cross between the traditional poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and the rare Dogwood poinsettia (Euphorbia cornastra),' says Faust.
'They have super big cyathia and relatively small bracts – 20 per cent of the size of a regular poinsettia – which gives them an old-fashioned appearance.
The white ones are truly white, and the pinks are clear pink. These are really nice addition to the poinsettia world.'
10. Gold Rush
With bracts radiating out from the center in stunning shades of pink to gold, Gold Rush is a stunning poinsettia variety.
Its colors are more intense in cooler atmospheres, and it likes some shading.
Autumn Leaves is a very similar-looking poinsettia variety with slightly pinker coloring.
11. Winter Rose Red
You would be forgiven for not recognizing Winter Rose Red as a poinsettia, due to its traditional flower appearance.
'It resembles a rose or geranium from a distance because of the plant’s bright red curvy petals,' says Bishop. 'It's a really good choice for Christmas decorating schemes.'
The plant's vibrant color can even last into the spring, so it's a fantastic choice for your home or a gift.
12. Princettia Pink
Princettia is a modern style of poinsettia, with a more compact growth habit and strong branching.
Available in various vibrant shades of pink, white and red, this pretty blush Pink variety is the antithesis of traditional red.
It will remind you of bright summer afternoons on the darkest days of winter, and is one of the softer poinsettias for Christmas.
As editor of Period Living, Britain's best-selling period homes magazine, I love the charm of older properties. I live in a rural village just outside the Cotswolds, so am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful homes and countryside, where I enjoy exploring. I am passionate about characterful interiors and heritage-inspired designs, but I am equally fascinated by a house's architectural elements – if I spot an elegant original sash window or intricate stained-glass front door, it fills my heart with joy. It's so important to me that original features are maintained and preserved for future generations to enjoy. My other passion is my garden, and I am slowly building up my planting knowledge, and becoming more confident at experimenting with growing my own. As well as editing Period Living, I am also co-editing the Country Channel of Homes & Gardens. In my previous roles, I have worked on Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating, writing about modern design and architecture, so my experience is broad – but my heart belongs to period homes.
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