There’s no flower that quite sums up the festivity of Christmas like a poinsettia. With flaming red petals (they’re actually leaves), this tropical plant is synonymous with the winter holidays. There’s nothing quite like a potted poinsettia to add the finishing touch to your winter décor.
- Let’s debunk this myth once and for all: poinsettias are not poisonous, although this is a commonly believed bit of misinformation.
- Poinsettias are actually tropical trees in the Euphorbiaceae family and their famous red star-shaped foliage is, believe it or not, actually leaves called “bracts,” not petals. Inside the bracts are tiny yellow buds and, if these look tight and intact when you purchase your poinsettia, that means it’s healthy.
- The “poinsettia” gets its name from Joel Roberts Poinsett as he was the first US Minister to Mexico and brought the plant to the United States in the early 19th century. Poinsettias are indigenous to Mexico and Central America so they were originally called “Mexican flame flowers.” They are also known as “La Flor de Nochebuena” or “Flower of the Holy Night.”
- The ancient Aztecs believed that the plant symbolized purity.
- Did you know that about $60 million worth of poinsettias is sold during the six-week period leading up to Christmas?!
- California cultivates and grows the most poinsettias out of all fifty states.
For Best Results
- For bright, vibrant red leaves poinsettias need a lot of sunlight.
- These jolly Christmas plants usually live for a couple of months and can be re-potted to last even longer but are known for being temperamental.
- Poinsettias also bloom in colors other than red, such as salmon pink and white.
- Only water your poinsettia about once a week and keep away from heat vents, etc.
When you first buy a poinsettia it’s probably in a plastic container with gold or silver foil wrapped around it. Re-pot your plant using either a large classic terracotta pot (so the poinsettia can spread out) or any sort of vessel you choose. Multiple poinsettias always make a statement when spread around the Christmas tree and also make wonderful centerpieces. On your mantle or dining room table, it’s the ultimate finishing touch for your holiday display. Of course, poinsettias are used for making DIY wreaths and add flair to any simple green garland or bough. These potted plants are also impressive when displayed on a staircase. For that extra flourish when surprising a loved one on Christmas morning, add a fresh bunch of poinsettia leaves to that special present under the tree. This will take your gift-wrapping presentation to a whole new level!
From Chelsea Flowers
You’d be hard-pressed to look around just about anywhere this holiday season and not see a poinsettia. Images of poinsettias are absolutely everywhere: on boxes of candy, greeting cards, wrapping paper, etc. They have been and remain extremely popular. Let’s face it: they’re classic! Nothing makes a statement quite like a scarlet potted poinsettia so it makes a perfect gift this Christmas! Chelsea Flowers has you covered with its gorgeous “Tis The Season” poinsettia plant.
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(Images courtesy of Chelsea Flowers and House Beautiful)