Poinsettias are the quintessential festive houseplant! And with Christmas now just over seven weeks away, they’re this month’s Houseplant of the Month.
The traditional scarlet red variety may be the first to come to mind, but did you know that they also come in white, cream, pink, apricot and bi-coloured?
Interesting Facts about Poinsettias
- The Latin name for poinsettias is Euphorbia pulcherrima, which means the most beautiful of all Euphorbias.
- The plant originates from Central and South America. In its home country of Mexico, where the poinsettia is called ‘La Flor de Noche Buena’, the Christmas Eve Flower, it has been directly associated with Christmas since the 16th century.
- The poinsettia is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1828. And there is a Poinsettia Day on December 12th in honour of Mr Poinsett.
- The colourful bracts (modified leaves) of the poinsettia, which are arranged in a star-like circle, are often mistakenly believed to be flowers. The actual flowers themselves though are yellow and quite small. They can be found at the centre of the bracts.
- Usually, available from October to January, the poinsettia is known as the ‘Christmas Star’ in some European countries, such as Germany, Holland and Italy.
- What many people do not know is that poinsettias also look great as cut flowers in a vase. Briefly dip the cut stem in boiling water. This treatment prevents the milky fluid from seeping out of the stem and also prevents wilting. The flowers will then last for about two weeks.
Poinsettia Care Tips
A suitable location and correct watering – that’s just about all that the poinsettia requires to flourish. It’s not demanding and it’s easy to care for. If you know its likes and dislikes, its can add a pop of colour to your home for many weeks.
- Tip 1
Place your poinsettia in a warm, well-lit spot in your home. They love a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius.
- Tip 2
Keep the plant out of direct sunlight and away from radiators and cold drafts.
- Tip 3
When it comes to watering, less is more, as the compost only needs to be kept slightly moist. A small amount of water at room temperature every couple of days should normally be enough. Make sure though that you don’t waterlog the plant, as it will react by the leaves turning yellow or even being shed. So, always remove excess water from the saucer or pot.
- Tip 4
To prolong the life of the plant, feed it once a month with standard liquid fertiliser.
So, if you’d like to add a festive touch to your home, look out for poinsettias the next time you’re out shopping.
* This post is brought to you in collaboration with The Flower Council of Holland. All the words are my own.
(Images : The Flower Council of Holland)