Q: I received a purple poinsettia for Christmas. If I keep it alive for the summer will it have purple leaves again next winter?
A: Colored poinsettias are striking. The idea originated in Europe and colored plants have been available in the U.S. for a couple of years.
The process of making a colored poinsettia is interesting. Growers start with a plant with light colored (white or pink) bracts. You’re probably aware that the colored parts of a poinsettia are not true leaves – they are modified leaves, called bracts, that serve to attract insects to the tiny yellow flowers at the tip of each branch.
Special dyes are sprayed onto the bracts a few days before the poinsettias are shipped to the retailer. Glitter may be applied as well. A spotted effect is achieved by sprinkling alcohol onto the dyed bracts.
Dyes are available in many colors, so plants can be dyed to match indoor decor or even your college football team colors!
Poinsettia bracts will naturally fall from the plant as it ages this spring. If you keep your plant alive it will produce bracts with the “natural” light color the plant had originally.
note the small white bracts that have developed since spraying
the normal bract color is white (vs the purple dye)
dye stains on lower leaf
What Color is Your Poinsettia? (broken)