Come November, potted poinsettia plants can be spotted everywhere from garden centers to super markets, living rooms to offices. It’s not hard to believe that Poinsettias are the most popular blooming plant in the US during the holiday season. According to the University of Florida, “Every year more than 70 million poinsettias are sold within a six-week period at a nationwide value of more than 250-million dollars.”
At City Floral, many of the poinsettias sold from our retail garden center in Denver were grown nearby in our Golden, Colorado greenhouse. Our selection of colors and sizes in poinsettias is hard to beat–it truly is a must-see!
Here are a few poinsettia facts, plus some tips on how to care for these beautiful plants during the holidays and all year round.
What is a poinsettia?
The poinsettia is native to Central America, from Mexico to southern Guatemala, and its botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima. In nature, this shrub can grow quite large, 10 to 15 feet tall, with less dense foliage than we are used to seeing in the holiday houseplant varieties. It gets its common name from Joel R. Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. While on a trip to Taxco, in 1828, he discovered the crimson shrubs growing on hillsides, and began sending blooms to his greenhouse in South Carolina. He popularized the plant by cultivating and sharing it with friends around Christmastime.
The red parts of the plant (or shades of pink, yellow, etc. in cultivated varieties) that appear to be flowers are actually modified leaves called bracts. The flowers are tiny and yellow, and grow in the center, where the leaves meet. When the plant gets adequate sunshine, the color of the bracts becomes more brilliant.
Because these plants come from Central America, they need warmth, sunshine, and proper watering to thrive.
Make sure to place your plant near a window where it will get plenty of filtered sunshine during the day, but be aware that direct sunlight may burn the leaves.
Water the plant when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Do not let the soil get soggy, and do not let the plant sit in standing water for long, as it can cause root rot. If the leaves are wilting, this can be a sign of overwatering. Keep the temperature around 65-75 degrees F to make your poinsettia happy, and keep it away from drafts or cold window panes.
Every year, around mid to late November, City Floral fills the east side of the greenhouse with rows upon rows of beautiful poinsettias for sale. Stop by today and pick out a few! They make wonderful holiday gifts for friends and family, and with the proper care, they can last much longer than one season.