December 13, 2010

How do you feel about poinsettias?

In the UK, the poinsettia plant sometimes seems to provoke a strong reaction in certain people.

It’s a bit of a Marmite plant, in that some people love it and see it as a very festive plant, whilst others really don’t like it and view it as having a slightly old-fashioned image. What’s your opinion?

Below is an overview of the poinsettia plant: –

What is it commonly known as?

How do you pronounce it?

What is the Latin name?
Euphorbia pulcherrima

What does it look like?
It’s a flowering plant with colourful bracts (modified leaves).  The ‘flower’ is actually made up of these bracts which are usually red (as in the picture), but also may be white, peach, yellow or pink. The actual flowers are yellow and at the centre of the bracts.

When can you buy them?
They’re usually available from October to December.

Where can you buy them from?
Florists, garden centres and supermarkets.

How do you look after them?
They really don’t like the cold, so keep them warm and out of draughts.  They like to be kept in bright light, but not direct sunlight. The most common cause of problems with poinsettias if over-watering, so allow the compost to dry out before watering.

Did you know?
The poinsettia is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1828.   In the States, they even have a Poinsettia Day which was yesterday, December 12th.  It marks the death of Mr. Poinsett.

Poinsettias are also available in a miniature version, which make great table decorations at Christmas. Simply buy an odd number of plants and place them down the length of your table.

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