{Almost} Wordless Wednesday :: Poinsettia (Euphorbia)

Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by Trillium Art

Welcome to National Poinsettia Day!  Isn’t it great that it falls on a Wednesday!  This is the perfect topic for today’s post as we celebrate this beautiful plant that many associate with Christmas!  December 12 marks the death of ‘Joel Roberts Poinsett’, an American botanist, physician and the first US Ambassador to Mexico, who in 1828, sent cuttings of the plant he’d discovered in Southern Mexico, to his home in South Carolina.

Using this plant in Christmas celebrations dates back through legends in Mexico where it is call the ‘ La Flor de la Nochebuena’ or  ‘Flower of the Holy Night’ and before that, the Aztecs called the plant ‘Cuitlaxochitl’ meaning ‘Star Flower’ where it was used to produce a red dye.  Click on National Poinsettia Day to read about the different legends and more of the history behind this popular Christmas flower.

Poinsettias are one of the most popular of the Christmas houseplants.  When choosing a plant for your home or for a gift, select a plant that appears strong and healthy without signs of insects, spotted or yellow leaves.  Check the centre of the ‘star’ to ensure the small yellow flowers are still on the plant.  The coloured part of the poinsettia is provided by modified leaves or bracts.  Ensure that the plant is wrapped and protected against cold temperatures when transporting it home.  If exposed to the cold for more than a few moments, an affected plant may drop it’s leaves. Once back inside, remove the protective wrapping immediately and you are ready to enjoy your colourful tropical plant!

Care Tips:
– keep in a room with bright, natural light without a lot of direct sunlight (a north-facing room is best)
– avoid direct heat sources and drafts (not near a fireplace, heater or the front door)
– place your plant out of reach of small children and pets
– water the plant when the soil surface is dry to touch and discard any excess water, remembering to use a water-proof container to protect your furniture
– Poinsettias prefer to be kept on the cool side (65-70 deg F or 18-21 deg C) during the day and 55-60 deg F (or 12-15 deg C) at night.

A few of the most popular Poinsettia cultivars:

Chianti Red – dark red bracts and dark green leaves, compact plant habit with upright branching
Christmas Feelings – large deep red bracts with dark green leaves

Visions of Grandeur – soft peachy pink bracts with medium green leaves, showy and outstanding plant for larger containers
Mars Pink- upright, V-shaped habit with thick sturdy stems, attractive pink colour that works well in mixed plantings

Arctic White – creamy white bracts
Snowcap – outstanding plant with large bright white bracts with medium green leaves

Jingle (red or pink with spots)
Sonora White Glitter – dark green leaves with oak-shaped bracts, red with white spangles to the bracts
Jingle Bells – red bracts with spots and splotches of pink

Marble (white with a pink blaze down the centre of each bract)
Holly Berry – attractive marbling and holly-shaped bracts, long-lasting variety

Novelties (everything else!)
Monet Twilight – multi-coloured bracts in cream/rose/pink/red that becomes deeper as it matures with medium green leaves

Do you have a Poinsettia in your home?  What colour or variety have you chosen?

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2 Responses

  1. Susan Moss says:

    Thanks to my mom, I have a red, and a white! I think the red is getting a draft from the front door, so I better move it!

    • Trillium Art says:

      How wonderful…the classic colours of Christmas! Enjoy your beautiful tropical poinsettias. Merry Christmas! 🙂

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