A poinsettia brings Christmas charm into your home or office. The bright petals of Poinsettias, which look like flowers, are the upper leaves of the plant, called bracts. The Poinsettia flowers are small, green or yellow, and grow inconspicuously in the center of each bunch of colored leaves.
Facts About Poinsettias
Here are a few quick facts:
- Poinsettias are native to southern Mexico and Central America.
- Poinsettia’s botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima, means “the most beautiful Euphorbia.”
- The Poinsettia is named after the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett, who introduced the Poinsettia to the United States.
- Poinsettias bloom in red, cream, lemon, peach, pink colors and with white and gold-splashed leaves.
- Poinsettias are not poisonous.
Legend of the Christmas Poinsettia
The ancient Mexican Aztecs valued the Poinsettia as a symbol of purity. Centuries later, Mexico’s early Christians embraced the flower as their prized Christmas Eve flower.
The Mexican Poinsettias are commonly bright red, and their star-shaped bracts symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. This Mexican legend explains how Poinsettias became associated with Christmas.
A child who could not afford a gift to offer the Christ Child on Christmas Eve picked some weeds from the roadside. Adults had told the child that a simple gift if given in love, would be acceptable in God’s eyes. When the child brought the weeds into the church, they bloomed into red and green, and the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle.
Caring For Your Poinsettia
Today’s Poinsettia is a hybrid plant. Thus we have a range of colors from red to pastel yellow and the vibrant bi-colors. The plants we bring home need extra care to keep them in bloom throughout the holidays. Here are some tips:
Light—Keep your plant near a sunny window that will give it sunlight for at least five hours a day. Windows facing south, east or west are the best locations.
Heat—Maintain a temperature of 65°-75° F during the day. Cold drafts and letting any part of the plant touch a cold windowpane will injure your plant and cause premature leaf drop. Have you seen a leggy poinsettia in bloom, with only a couple of sad-looking leaves hanging on its stems? No doubt the plant was probably exposed to cold temperatures or extreme temperature shifts.
Water—Don’t let the soil in the plant’s pot dry out. Water the plant whenever the surface feels dry to the touch, water until the water runs freely out of the pot’s drainage hole. Don’t let the Poinsettia sit in water.
Humidity—Lack of moisture during winter is an ongoing houseplant problem. If your house tends to be dry and your Poinsettia is in direct light, you’ll find yourself watering it frequently, maybe daily.
How To Video
The following video, “Poinsettia Care Guide,” teaches you to select your plant and how to care for the Poinsettia. The EU financed this British video. I mention this because it shows that this colorful Christmas flower has become an international Christmas favorite.
After viewing the video and reading my tips, you will have enough information to keep your Poinsettia’s bright and healthy throughout the Christmas season.