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3193 Vicksboro Road
Henderson, North Carolina 27537
Telephone: 252-492-6166
Fax: 252-492-3536


Christmas is for Giving


Poinsettia


The Do's and Don'ts of Poinsettia Care

  • DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.

  • DO provide room temperatures between 68 - 70 F. Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, so is your poinsettia.

  • DO water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.

  • DO use a large, roomy shopping bag to protect your plant when transporting it.

  • DO fertilize your plant AFTER THE BLOOMING SEASON with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

  • DON'T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat. Avoid placing plants near appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

  • DON'T expose plants to temperatures below 50 F. Poinsettias are sensitive to cold, so avoid placing them outside during the winter months.

  • DON'T overwater your plant, or allow it to sit in standing water. Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.

  • DON'T expose your plant to chilling winds when transporting it.

  • DON'T fertilize your plant when it is in bloom.


    The Legend of the Poinsettia

    A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather than joy.

    "I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes," said Pedro consolingly.

    Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.

    As she approached the altar, she remembered Pedro's kind words: "Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes." She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.

    Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.

    From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.

    Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!


    The History of the Poinsettia
    The plant we know today as the poinsettia has a long and interesting history. The fact is, that lovely plant you place in your home during the holidays was once used as a fever medicine!

    Native to Central America, the plant flourished in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon. The ancient Aztecs had a name for this plant found blooming in the tropical highlands during the short days of winter:cuetlaxochitl. Not merely decorative, the Aztecs put the plant to practical use. From its bracts they extracted a purplish dye for use in textiles and cosmetics. The milky white sap, today called latex, was made into a preparation to treat fevers.


    The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825 - 1829) by President Adams. Poinsett had attended medical school himself, but his real love in the scientific field was botany. (Mr. Poinsett later founded the institution which we know today as the Smithsonian Institution).


    Poinsett maintained his own hothouses on his Greenville, South Carolina plantations, and while visiting the Taxco area in 1828, he became enchanted by the brilliant red blooms he saw there. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

    Among the recipients of Poinsett's work was John Bartram of Philadelphia, who in turn gave the plant over to another friend, Robert Buist, a Pennsylvania nurseryman. Mr. Buist is thought to be the first person to have sold the plant under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima (literally, "the most beautiful Euphorbia"). Though it is thought to have become known by its more popular name of poinsettia around 1836, the origin of the name is certainly clear!









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