The Holiday Season has arrived! A season for celebrations, feasts, family, friends, and of course, Poinsettias. Let’s take moment from the frenzy and reflect on how this charming plant became synonymous with the holidays.
Poinsettias got their name after the first United States Minister to Mexico, Dr. Joel Poinsett. Poinsett’s true passion was Botany and during one of his trips to Mexico, where this plant is native, he encountered the unusual specimen and instantly fell in love. He shipped the plant back to his nursery in Charleston, South Carolina, began propagating and shipping the plant to surrounding nurseries. The popularity of this plant instantly spread making Poinsettias the number one bestselling potted plant in the U.S. today.
Poinsettias are scientifically known as Euphorbia pulcherrima (“the most beautiful Euphorbia”).The colorful parts of the Poinsettia are actually referred to as bracts and tiny flowers occur in the center on yellow bulblike growths called cyathia. Aztecs used the bracts to produce dyes for use in textiles and cosmetics. The milky sap was also used medicinally to treat fevers. While Poinsettias are NOT poisonous (one would have to eat roughly 500 bracts to reach a toxic dose) it is not recommended to utilize the plants for medicinal, food, or cosmetic consumption in today’s world.
Worried about keeping your Poinsettia beautiful all season?
Well rest easy, their care plan is simple:
- Choose a plant that comes with a sleeve. This will protect the plant from harsh temperatures and bract breakage and bruising during the plant’s trip home.
- Place your plants in bright indirect light
- They will bloom the longest in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees
- Avoid drafty areas including: Doorways, vents, windows, and fireplace fans
- If placed on a window sill, make sure none of the bracts directly touch the windows. Cold temperatures will cause bracts to wilt.
- Only water when the soil is dry to the touch- Be sure not to get water on the bracts
- Water lightly, you do not want to soak the soil or have the plant sitting in water
- Fertilization is not required while the plant is in bloom
Following these simple steps will keep your Poinsettias in bloom throughout the entire Holiday Season.
Watch our video for some creative ideas on centerpieces.
Don’t forget to celebrate National Poinsettia Day on December 12th!
Season’s Greetings from the Smith Gardens Family.