The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a poinsettia or two to brighten your home. Our poinsettias come in a range of colors from the palest of pink, to the deepest red. With a little tender, loving care, your poinsettias can remain healthy throughout the season.
How to care for poinsettia:
Choose a plant with green foliage all the way down the stems. The freshest “flowers” will have small, green buttons (cyathia) in the center of the colored bracts. These will open into little yellow flowers. The large, colored “petal” is actually a bract. The ideal room is about 60 to 72 degrees. Below 50 degrees, the leaves will drop and the red bracts will take on a bluish tint. Poinsettias prefer to stay inside.They love a room that’s bright enough to read fine print. Check plants daily for watering and water only if it feels dry to the touch (about once or twice a week).
Keep plants away from drafts, radiators and hot air registers. Take your plant out of its pot cover to water or slash the bottom so it can drain. Overly wet plants will drop leaves. Are they poisonous? No they are not; they have been tested repeatedly and are cleared of this charge. They produce a white milky sap from their stems and leaves when broken which can cause a skin irritation for some people. They are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs.
Poinsettia are native to southern Mexico and were introduced by Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an amateur botanist and the first US Minister to Mexico, who discovered them at the side of the road in Taxco, Mexico. Aztecs used the colored bracts to dye fabric reddish purple for ceremonial clothing. They considered the red color a symbol of purity. Poinsettias adorned the altars of religious ceremonies. The sap was used for medicinal purposes such as reducing fever. Today in Mexico and Guatemala, they are known as Flor de Noche Buena (the Flower of the Holy Night) referring to Christmas Eve.