Some Interesting Facts about the Poinsettia
- December 12th is Poinsettia Day, celebrated in memory of Joel Roberts Poinsett, an ambassador responsible for introducing the poinsettia to the United States from Mexico.
- The poinsettia is the number one selling container plant in the United States and Canada. California tops the world production for poinsettias, producing more than 27 million of the 65 million pots grown commercially.
- If you live in a tropical climate, you may be able to turn that potted poinsettia gift into a small tree for your landscape. In its native habitat, the poinsettia can grow to 12 feet.
- The Mayo Clinic shares findings from multiple research studies stating that while we shouldn’t be snacking on the colorful bracts, consumption of the plant won’t cause more than mild digestive upset. However, the sap can cause skin irritation, especially in those with latex allergies.
- You can judge the maturity of a poinsettia for sale by the presence of pollen on the flowers. Plants past their peak show pollen on the flowers, while fresh poinsettias have no pollen showing on the flowers.
- Red is the most popular color, accounting for roughly three-quarters of all sales nationwide, followed by white and pink. The more than 100 varieties of poinsettias come in a range of colors from red, salmon, and apricot to yellow, cream, and white (but not blue—these are a designer color created with dyes). There are also unusual speckled or marbled varieties with several colors blended together. New varieties are introduced yearly.
- Do you know the best way to prolong the life of this Christmas plant? Avoid hot or cold drafts, keep the soil moist not soggy, and place in a room with sufficient natural light and temperatures of around 60 to 70 degrees F. Water when the soil begins to dry. Once the leaves wilt too far, it's too late. Above all, protect it from exposure to wind or cold on the way home from the store. Poinsettias are highly sensitive to cold temperatures and even a few minutes of exposure to 50-degree F or lower temperatures will cause them to wilt. But when cared for properly, poinsettias usually will outlast your desire to keep them!