In a world where, regardless of its seasonality, almost any plant or flower can be obtained, the poinsettia remains inextricably linked to one specific time of year – Christmas.
The poinsettia is a native of Mexico, and was first named ‘Cuetlaxochitl’ by the Aztecs. Fortunately for us, Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, who was also a keen botanist, spotted the plant and brought it back to the States, where he cultivated it in his greenhouses in South Carolina, and the ‘Poinsettia’ as we know it, was born.
With their festive red leaves, this traditional Christmas plant makes an ideal seasonal gift and, with a little care and attention, will thrive well all year round. Treat your poinsettia right and next year the bracts will colour up again just in time for Christmas.
So whether you’re sprucing up your windowsill or giving one of these festive plants as a Christmas gift; here are our top tips on how to look after a poinsettia.
- A poinsettia’s biggest enemy is cold. If purchasing from a florist shop make sure the plant is wrapped up carefully before you leave the shop and give it a little time to acclimatise before unwrapping it at home.
- Place your poinsettia in a light position, but away from direct heat, the ideal temperature is 55-60°F (16-18°C).
- Leaf drop can also be caused by over watering, keep the compost moderately dry. Let the plant stand in water for approximately 20 minutes before removing it and allowing it to drain.
- Some people are allergic to the milky white sap of the plant; always wash your hands after handling them.