December 12 is National Poinsettia Day! The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett who was the South Carolina congressman attributed with bringing this beautiful plant from Mexico to the U.S. This iconic holiday plant is the #1 selling potted plant in America. In fact, it contributes more than $250 million to our nation’s economy annually despite its short shelf life.
Did you know…
- Poinsettias are native to Mexico where they actually grow as shrubby trees. In the wild, they typically bloom in December.
- Poinsettias don’t have to be red. The plant has more than 100 varieties…white, cream, pink, purple, orange and yellow. In addition to marble and bicolor varieties.
- The poinsettias color “flower” is actually a modified leaf called a bract. The real flower is the small yellow flowers (cyathiums) found clustered in the center of the bracts.
- Although, poinsettias are commercially grown across all 50 states, California is the top poinsettia-producing state in the U.S.
- Poinsettias can grow up to 15 feet tall!
In order to bloom and thrive, poinsettias need both sunshine and dark nights. The shorter days and longer nights of the “holiday season” are what cause poinsettias to bloom this time of year.
Here are some simple steps to ensure your poinsettia lasts all season long:
- When picking your plant, look for a poinsettia that has tiny greenish flowers in the middle that are tightly closed. As the plant grows, they will turn yellow.
- Keep your poinsettia covered when bringing it home. And don’t leave it in a chilly car!
- Place your poinsettia in a window with sunlight. Since they are tropical plants, they can tolerate full sun.
- Remember to water your poinsettia!
While these plants are mostly short lived, they definitely add a spark of holiday cheer to almost every gathering, doorstep and centerpiece this season. They also make a great hostess gift! Share a little holiday cheer by gifting a beautiful poinsettia at your next holiday party!