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
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
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
DON'T fertilize your plant when it
is in bloom.
Legend of the Poinsettia
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.
am sure, Pepita, that even the most
if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes," said Pedro
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.
she approached the altar, she
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.
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.
that day on, the bright red flowers
as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the
Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.
the common name for this plant is the
History of the Poinsettia
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!
|Mulch now to
provide winter protection