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Origins of The Poinsettia

The Poinsettia plant has long been celebrated in the United States as the Christmas flower. It is also my birth flower since I am a December baby! Their bright vibrant colors can fill a room like no other, they set the mood from Cathedrals to Department Stores letting us know that Christmas is near.

Large Red Poinsettia, Poinsettia Plant, Poinsettia Gift

The Poinsettia Plant is actually native to Southern Mexico. It was discovered by Dr. Poinsett and named after him because of his love of Botany. Dr. Poinsett discovered the plant during his travels in Mexico and had samples shipped back to his hothouses in South Carolina, where they were cultivated and grew in popularity.

White Poinsettia

Brought to America by Dr. Poinsett, the Poinsetta has become a cherished symbol of the Christmas Season. They are used in decoration and sent as gifts. In Native Mexico the plant was considered to be a weed. The pigment of the flower was used in dyes and the milky white substance of the stem was used to treat fevers.

Colorful Poinsettias

Thanks to the work of Dr. Poinsett, who later went on to found the The Smithsonian Institute, we can enjoy Poinsettias in a variety of colors. This year has produced some of the most beautiful I have seen in years. I love the vibrant reds, they have always been my favorite.

Another is the cross hybrid between red and ivory which gave birth to the poinsettia known as "Jingle Bell" below.

Also appearing this year are vibrant pinks and stark whites, a departure from the more muted tones of the past few years. Poinsettias are a delicate plant with a hollow shaft. They are often bound with gardening string to prevent breakage however when planted outdoors the can reach great heights. Although we associate Poinsettias with Christmas and colder weather, they are actually a tropical plant. They do not tolerate temperatures colder than 50 degrees. If placed in a freezing window the leaves may begin to drop. Poinsettias like to be watered when the top of the soil is dry. Whether you are giving or receiving a poinsettia this year we hope you will enjoy it's beauty. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & Feliz Navidad!

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