Euphorbia Pulcherrima is a Winter flowering plant that is popular at Christmas. The true flowers are small and display yellow anthers when they open. The coloured bracts that surround them may be pink, red or creamy white and remain attractive for about 4 months.
Keep well watered with lukewarm water from Autumn to late Winter. Never let compost dry out when growing or in flower. Over-watering, poor drainage and standing in water will cause root rot.
Feed every 2 weeks while it starts growing and flowering, with liquid house-plant food. .
Re-pot after the plant is pruned, in a one size larger pot in peat-based compost.
Propagate from new shoots by cutting 3 inches stem, from late Spring or early Summer. Dip the cut ends in rooting powder and pot in 3 inch pot in diameter using seed and cutting compost or a mixture of equal parts peat moss and perlite. Put the pot in polythene bag or propagator and the cuttings root as little as 5 weeks. Once rooted they may be potted on in potting compost.
Keep the plant in normal room temperature, in good light but out of scorching sun and out of draughts. When the plant is no longer attractive, the main stem should be pruned.
A week or 2 before pruning, water should be gradually reduced until compost is almost dry. Cut back to a height of about 4 inches from the soil surface. Dust cut surfaces with powdered charcoal or with water.
If instead of taking cuttings, you retain the old plant, shake off all the old compost when the plant starts to grow again. Re-plant in fresh potting compost.
If the plant is suddenly moved to a spot where light is low, leaves will drop. When leaves or stems are damaged, a milky sap emerges, which weakens the plant. The normal flowering season is during Winter, but by keeping the plant in total darkness from early Autumn for 12 or 14 hours each day for 8-9 weeks, flowers and bracts will appear out of season.
Euphorbia Pulcherrima is a seasonal plant to decorate for table-center, display in dining room, lounge or office and in conservatory.
Spray the plant occasionally with tepid water or stand it on a tray of moist gravel.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.