Poinsettias like to be kept in consistent temperature. Drastic temperature swings can cause the plants to “flop” and they never really perk back up. Definitely avoid cold locations, like near a door that opens frequently or a window that is open. The plant will shrivel and turn dark colours if exposed to too cold of temperatures.
Let dry out completely between waterings and then water well but not too much as to saturate the soil.
There is definitely a misconception about poinsettias and how they are “extremely” toxic. We dug into this a little and did some research. Allegedly, in 1919 a two-year old girl in Hawaii died of poisoning, and her death was mistakenly thought to be from consuming a poinsettia leaf.
A study completed in 1996 from the American Journal of Emergency Medicine that looked at 22, 793 cases reported to American Poison Control Centers showed no fatalities. Ever. They explain that majority of patients do not end up receiving any kind of medical treatment. Furthermore, POISINDEX, a major resource for poison control centers, studies show that a 50lb child would have to eat about 500-600 leaves to accumulate levels of toxins found to be harmful.
Reference for American Journal of Emergency Medince: https://www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(96)90086-8/pdf
Further interesting reading on the subject:
Poinsettias originate from Mexico. The Aztecs used the plant to produce red dye and used the sap for medicinal purposes. Christmas and Christianity were introduced by the Europeans and sometime in the 16-century the plants association with Christmas began. Legend tells of a girl, called Pepita, who was too poor to provide a gift for Jesus birthday and she was inspired by an angel to gather weeds to form a bouquet to place at the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became poinsettias.
The star-shaped leaf is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem and the red colour represents the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Poinsettias have been made synonymous with Christmas in North-American culture.
In 1829 poinsettias were first introduced to the United States but not made popular until early 1900’s when a man named Albert Ecke started selling them in street stands. His family perfected the technique of growing them and created a monopoly on the poinsettia market until the late 1980’s when their method was discovered and published by university researcher, John Dole.