We all see poinsettias all over the holidays. They are sold in pretty much every store you go to, are ready for fundraisers at school, and can be seen in many people’s homes throughout the season. 12th of Decemberth is even National Poinsettia Day in the United States! Poinsettias have become such a universal symbol of Christmas and winter that many people do not realize that they are actually tropical plants that grow as large shrubs in the wild. With a little care and attention to detail, you can create a stylish poinsettia display that showcases these fiery crimson beauties.
It can be difficult to imagine poinsettias growing in the wild because we are so used to seeing them as houseplants. The poinsettia plant, Euphorbia pulcherrima, comes from western Mexico, where it grows into a large shrub or small tree.
The large red “petals” are actually bracts and the small yellow centers are the flowers. Colorful bracts and small flowers can also be seen on other frequently flowering shrubs and trees such as dogwoods and hydrangeas.
History and association with Christmas
The ancient Aztecs used the plant as a medicine to reduce fever and also used it frequently to produce a red dye that colored cosmetics and textiles.
It was in the sixteenth century that the poinsettia was commonly associated with Christmas. The plant’s heyday in December and the star-shaped bracts that commemorate the star of Bethlehem are probably the origin of the original connection with the holiday. There is a Mexican Christmas story about the origin of the poinsettia, which tells the story of a young peasant girl who could not afford an appropriate sacrifice for her Christmas prayer. So instead she put a bundle of weeds on the church altar. The weeds started to bloom red and turned into beautiful large star-shaped flowers.
In the nineteenth century, Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico and an enthusiastic gardener, fell in love with the plants and sent some back to his home in South Carolina to be introduced to the United States for the first time. The plant got its common name from poinsett.
Grow and care
Start by buying a plant that looks healthy. Choose one that is full and has no discolored leaves or other signs of disease.
Place poinsettias in a bright room that receives plenty of natural light, but keep the plant away from direct sunlight. Place it somewhere near drafty windows or heat sources as dramatic changes in temperature can damage the plant. Water only when the soil feels dry. If your poinsettia is healthy, it will bloom again next year.
Many people avoid having poinsettias in the house because they fear that they are dangerous for cats and dogs, but the plants are not as toxic to pets as is commonly believed. They can only cause serious harm if they are ingested in large quantities (your furry friend would have to eat hundreds of plants to be really in danger). According to a recent study). However, they can cause uncomfortable abdominal pain. It is best to keep them out of the reach of pets. For more information on plants that can be harmful to dogs and cats, see this post.
It makes a big difference to take a little time to put your poinsettia back in as soon as you bring it home. Plant it in a decorative ceramic pot, something simple, or even in a salad bowl – anything but leaving it in the glossy foil packaging will make it look so much more sophisticated.
I know that you can buy poinsettias in all possible colors, e.g. B. blue, rainbow, and even glitter-covered, but I’m just not a fan. If it’s not a shade or a combination of red and white, it’s definitely colored.
Poinsettias are beautiful if they stay natural, and I think colored flowers only look artificial and sticky. In addition, I don’t want to bring particularly hard dyes into my home. The fewer chemicals, the better!
Leave the wrong colors and choose a beautiful natural poinsettia instead. You can find them in fiery red, white, cream, blush or with candy cane strips!