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The Helpful Gardeners Podcast | Ep42: National Poinsettia Day

To celebrate #NationalPoinsettiaDay on December 12th, we’re unwrapping this iconic houseplant and its Christmas roots in Mexico. 

The Christmas Connection

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and are one the largest exports in the region. The ‘Flower of the Holy Night’ is in reference to a Christmas legend. The story follows a poor girl who is sad they don’t have a gift for Jesus’ birthday. An angel appears and reminds the girl that it’s most important to give a gift with love. So, the girl gathers weeds and presents them with a heart full of love to the manger. The weeds bloom into a beautiful red star flower.

Poinsettia Anatomy & Varieties

A common misconception about the Poinsettia is that the bright red features are in fact ‘bracts’ and not ‘petals’. In fact, the flowers are the tiny yellow balls near the stem of the plant. As the bracts age, they turn green! Poinsettia’s come in soooooo many colours making them an easy way to add some festive flair to your space. Check out these varieties we had at Golden Acre this year!

Caring for your Poinsettia

It goes without saying that this is a tropical plant and will need to be kept inside in colder climates. We trying to simulate a Mexico climate as much as possible. Ask your local garden centre to wrap your poinsettia in paper to protect it from the cold weather. Once you’re home, make sure to give your poinsettia lots of light and keep soil moist but not soggy. Keep it away from any cold drafts and if it’s hanging around a heating vent, make sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture. It’s possible to keep this houseplant going until next Christmas, but it can be challenging to cycle back to a blooming period. As with most perennial shrubs, poinsettia’s require a dormancy period of about 10 weeks in heavily restricted sunlight.

National Poinsettia Day 

The poinsettia was known as the ‘red star flower’ and grew as a woody perennial shrub in Mexico. The name ‘Poinsettia’ come along in 1825 when Joel Poinsett, US minister to Mexico, brought one home to admire as a houseplant over the holidays. It’s become one of the most popular plants admired over the holiday season.

There are so many ways to acknowledge this special day.

  1. Visit your favourite garden centre or conservatory and see what kinds of poinsettia’s they have! Traditional red is always fun, but feel free to experiment with some of the unique varieties too!
  2. Make ‘Poinsetta Punch’. Don’t worry, you don’t need to milk a poinsettia! Mix cranberry juice, ginger ale, and a hint of lemon juice. Cheers to the holiday season!
  3. Snap a pic of your favourite poinsettia and share it on social media with the the hashtag #NationalPoinsettiaDay.

Hypothetical Question of the Week….

“What are your thoughts on using poinsettias as a year-round decorative plant rather than just during the holiday season? Do you believe they can bring a unique and vibrant touch to indoor spaces throughout the entire year, or do you think their association with holidays makes them best suited for seasonal use?

What do you think?



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