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Poinsettia’s Everywhere!

Beautiful red poinsettia's

Poinsettia’s Everywhere!

A familiar sight in British homes throughout the Christmas period is the potted Poinsettia. Many people do not realise that Poinsettia is a member of the Euphorbia family but one cut of the stem reveals the milky sap that Euphorbia's contain.

Poinsettias are no doubt the most popular plants to grow at Christmas. Poinsettia were discovered in Mexico in the 19th Century where they grow to a maximum height of 3.5 metres in the wild.

Wild Poinsettia in Mexico

Many people believe that the coloured bracts are the flowers. Bracts are actually the leaves that colour up in shades of yellow, cream, salmon, pink and the traditional red. The flowers are small and yellow and can be seen in the centre of the plant. By looking at these flowers you can tell if the poinsettia is worth buying. If the flowers are closed in tight then the plant is in good condition. If they are open or soft then the plant is starting to die. 

Central yellow flowers

So what makes the bracts start to colour up? This happens when the temperature drops and the daylight gets shorter. This is fine in the wild but these conditions must be imitated for growing the small plants that adorn many shops just before Christmas.

Many people find that Poinsettias are difficult to keep alive. Poinsettias need warm temperatures during the winter. Do not place them near heaters, or too close to windows and keep out of draughts. Give them plenty of light but not direct sunlight.

The cause of death for many poinsettias is over watering. Wait until the top of the compost surface starts to dry out before watering again. Do not leave any water standing in the saucer as they do not like standing in the wet, cold compost.

poinsettia basket

If you follow the above rules then you should be able to enjoy your poinsettias for many months over the winter. If you don't then you can always enjoy the numerous Poinsettia products on sale like this Poinsettia tablecloth of ours.

Poinsettia tablecloth
Russ Yates