Here are a few interesting tidbits about poinsettias; they are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico. He introduced the plant to the US in 1825. Poinsettias are widely considered and most popularly sold as a Christmas plant. As legends tell it, in 16th century Mexico, a poor girl named Pepita was unable to provide a gift in celebration of Jesus’ birthday. An angel inspired her to gather these “weeds” from the roadside; which then sprouted crimson blossoms. From the 17th-century on, poinsettias were used by the Franciscan friars in Christmas celebrations.
A little botanical side note; the bright poinsettia petals actually colorful leaf bracts surrounding the actual poinsettia flower, which is located at the center of the bracts and may be green or yellow. We suggest not correcting people with this fact when they are waxing poetic about the beauty of poinsettia flowers. From this author’s experience, all that will get you is a blank look or maybe even an eye roll. Wait… are your eyes rolling right?!
Now, these hard to resist plants are pretty easy to take care but there are a few helpful tips. And as is true with most plants, correct watering is key!
Place poinsettias in bright, indirect light, and water as needed throughout the season. Water when the soil surface is dry and do not allow the plant to sit in water. If the plant is in a sleeve, remove the sleeve, water, let it drain then replace the sleeve. Or cut the sleeve to allow water drainage and place a saucer under the plant; dump the extra water from the saucer. Water the soil; avoiding the foliage. Move poinsettias carefully; they break easily. Avoid placing the plant near hot or cold drafts; 65 to 70 degrees is preferred. Enjoy them for the season and then toss out with the tree!
One last item to cover; are poinsettias poisonous or not? The white sap that appears when stems are broken may irritate your skin, and cause some itching. This is true with other plants in the Euphorbiaceae family too, including Variegated Tapioca and the much loved Ascot Rainbow Euphorbia. Avoid ingesting these plants. You would have to eat large quantities for them to be dangerously poisonous but they don’t taste great so we advise against ingesting them altogether!
We support local growers; all of our poinsettias are Arkansas grown. We take good care of them; our poinsettias are either in the hothouse or in our gift shop during their time with us. Buying healthy, happy plants is the first step to success so pick yours up here today!