Star-shaped flowers grew wild along the streets of a small town in Mexico. Despite their natural beauty, poinsettias were considered weeds since they were so plentiful. That was, until one little girl made them history.
Poinsettias: few other flowers are as synonymous with Christmas as this one! This plant was brought to the United States from Mexico in the 1828 by Joel Roberts Poinsett. In Mexico, this plant is a perennial shrub and can grow 10-15 feet tall. The part of poinsettias which most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts, or modified leaves. The flowers are the center of the bracts. To get the longest-lasting poinsettias, choose plants with little or no yellow pollen showing because the plant drops its bracts and leaves soon after losing their pollen. While poinsettias have long been rumored to be poisonous, this is not true. Ingesting the leaves of this plant will cause a child or pet to be sick with an upset stomach, vomiting and nausea, and they would have to eat 500 to 600 leaves to experience those side effects (and the leaves are not tasty). Despite that, it’s still best to be cautious about where you place house plants with pets and children in mind.
There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias on the market, ranging from red to pink, white, and purple. The red variety is the most popular and traditional. Although most poinsettias sold in the US come from California and their sales contribute over $250 million to our economy, our Poinsettias are grown locally. They are the bestselling potted plant in the US, which most being sold in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.
When bringing poinsettias home, make sure to place them poinsettias near sunny windows, or somewhere where they will receive plenty of sunshine. Be careful not to let the leaves of the plant press against the cold window panes, as they are tropical plants that dislike cold. They do not do well with very hot or cold drafts, so take care to keep them away from air registers and open windows or doors. Water only when soil feels dry and when watering, ensure that water soaks the soil down to the bottom of the pot, and then discard any excess water. If you plan on keeping your plant for several months, apply a soluble houseplant fertilizer for best results.
It is possible to keep your poinsettia going for longer than the Christmas season. You will need to care for it as you would any houseplant, and probably cut back the old flowering stems in February or March to maintain a good shape. Continue to fertilize the plant as needed.
For those who just want holiday blooms, take advantage of our “Dead or Alive” Program. Save the “Dead or Alive” tag and bring it back in the new year for a $5.00 discount on any house plant.
Our beautiful stock of Poinsettias is ready and waiting for you, so stop by and see us! Our knowledgeable staff can help you with any questions you have about caring for these festive flowers!