POINSETTIA (poinset’ia) is one of the most popular plants for the Christmas season. It grown for its great clusters of bright scarlet leaves at the ends of long stems. The small inconspicuous flowers occur at the center of this mass of leaves. The brightly colored leaves are often referred to as the flowers. The foliage leaves are deeply lobed and bright, waxy green. In the northern United States very large quantities of poinsettia are grown in greenhouses. In the southern portion, including Florida and southern California, the plant lives out-of-doors as a perennial. There it may become a shrub up to 15 feet or more in height. Usually the large stems are cut back, often to the ground, every year or two. New shoots are then produced and later bloom profusely. In the greenhouse the plants are propagated from cuttings. If these are made as early as May, the plants grow large and tall by Christmas time. If propagated as late as August, or even September, the plants will bloom but are much shorter. The short plants are excellent for growing in pots.