The Bottom Line on Poinsettia's Being Poisonous
For years poinsettias have had the bad reputation of being poisonous. They certainly are not meant to be eaten by humans, pets or livestock and ingesting poinsettias would probably cause some stomach upset, as would eating most any houseplant. However poinsettias have undergone extensive testing and there is no evidence that they are toxic or unsafe to have in the house. They are also safe to put into the compost.
You Should Still Use Caution when Handling Poinsettias
A more likely problem to watch out for is contact dermatitis. Euphorbias, the plant family that includes poinsettias, exude a milky sap when broken. Think of milkweed, another common Euphorbia. Many people are sensitive to this sap, which can cause an itchy rash. Be especially careful not to rub your eyes after touching the plants. To be safe, wash your hands after handling a poinsettia plant and try to avid pinching or pruning them with your hands.
They're beautiful, they're safe, they say Christmas. The only remaining question is whether to save them from year to year. Now that you know they are safe, read about how to care for your holiday poinsettias.