Monday, October 2, 2023




Are you a trivia buff? In that case, maybe you’d be excited by figuring out a bit bit extra in regards to the poinsettia plant you purchase each Christmas.

For instance, do you know that the poinsettia’s foremost attraction isn’t its flowers, however its leaves? The flowers of the plant are the yellow clustered buds within the middle. The coloured leafy components are literally bracts or modified leaves.

Purple is the preferred colour, accounting for roughly three-quarters of all gross sales nationwide, adopted by white and pink. Poinsettias are available quite a lot of colours from crimson, salmon, and apricot to yellow, cream, and white. There are additionally uncommon speckled or marbled varieties like “Jingle Bells” and “Sweet Cane” with a number of colours blended collectively. New varieties are launched yearly with much more variation in peak and colours.

What number of poinsettias do you assume are bought in a yr?

For those who guessed round 60 million, you’d be within the ballpark. Would you consider that final yr greater than 65 million had been bought nationwide? Poinsettias accounted for one-third of gross sales of all flowering potted vegetation. In financial phrases, that’s $237 million out of a complete of $781 million in gross sales of all flowering potted vegetation!

Though each state in the US grows poinsettias commercially, California is the highest producer with about 27 million pots grown, adopted by Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan, every with about 14 million pots.

Do you know that within the wild, the poinsettia can attain heights of 12 toes with leaves measuring six to eight inches throughout? It’s truly a small tropical tree belonging to the Euphorbia plant household. Its botanical identify is Euphorbia pulcherrima though in English-speaking nations it’s extra generally often called the poinsettia. A local of southern Mexico, the poinsettia blooms in December and has been utilized in that nation to embellish church buildings for hundreds of years.

Within the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, the Aztecs used the poinsettia leaves to dye material for clothes and the sap for medicinal functions, together with to assist management fevers. Additionally they thought of the crimson colour a logo of purity, and so poinsettias had been historically a part of non secular ceremonies.

You most likely know that Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an newbie botanist and first United States ambassador to Mexico, launched the plant that grew to become often called the poinsettia to this nation. He found a shrub with brilliantly coloured crimson leaves rising by the facet of the street in Taxco, Mexico, in December 1828 and despatched cuttings residence to his plantation in Greenville, South Carolina.

However do you know that the majority botanists at the moment dismissed the poinsettia as a weed? Happily, Poinsett continued to check and breed this plant in his greenhouse, sharing vegetation along with his horticulturist buddies. It quickly gained acceptance as a vacation plant, regardless of its very brief bloom time. It wasn’t till the Sixties that researchers had been in a position to efficiently breed vegetation to bloom greater than just some days.

Right here’s one other little bit of fascinating trivia. December 12 is Nationwide Poinsettia Day. By no means heard of it? Consider it or not, the US has noticed this official day because the mid-1800s. It honors the person and the plant he launched. Poinsett died Dec.12, 1851.

True or False? The poinsettia is a toxic plant. For those who answered false, you’re appropriate. The plant has been examined repeatedly and cleared of this cost by the Nationwide Poison Middle in Atlanta, Georgia, and the American Medical Affiliation. The POINSINDEX Data Service, the principle data useful resource for poison management facilities throughout the nation, studies that even when a 50-pound youngster consumed greater than 500 poinsettia bracts–the quantity examined in scientific experiments–the results wouldn’t be deadly. Even at this excessive degree, no toxicity was discovered.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that poinsettias are supposed to be eaten. If ingested, this plant may cause abdomen irritation and discomfort. Cats and youngsters additionally might choke on the fibrous components, so make sure you hold these vegetation out of their attain. The sticky white sap additionally might trigger pores and skin irritation for some individuals.

Have you learnt the easiest way to delay the lifetime of this Christmas plant? Keep away from sizzling or chilly drafts, hold the soil moist not soggy, and place in a room with ample pure gentle and temperatures of round 60 to 70 levels F. Water when the soil begins to dry. As soon as the leaves start to wilt, it’s too late.

Above all, shield it from publicity to wind or chilly on the way in which residence from the shop. Poinsettias are extremely delicate to chilly temperatures and even a couple of minutes of publicity to 50-degree F or decrease temperatures will trigger them to wilt. However when cared for correctly, poinsettias often will outlast your want to maintain them!


By Dr. Leonard Perry Extension Greenhouse and Nursery Crops Specialist College of Vermont

Free Garden Catalog


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