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Gardening has been a lifelong passion for Wende and she’d like to share her passion with her readers. Follow her as she writes about her gardening adventures, lists tasks to do depending on the season, and gives easy to understand gardening advice.

National Poinsettia Day is Dec 12th

fertilize, indoor, holiday, perennial, plant, transplant, winter, flower

·                  December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.

·                  Poinsettias are native to Mexico. The Aztecs called the poinsettia Cuetlaxochitl. They made a reddish purple dye from the bracts.

·                  Chile and Peru called the poinsettia the "Crown of the Andes."

·                  Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae family. Many plants in this family ooze a milky sap. Some people may have skin irritation from the milky sap

·                  In nature, poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow to ten feet tall.

·                  The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think are the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves). The flowers or cyathia of the poinsettia are in the center of the colorful bracts.

·                  Poinsettias are priced according to the number of blooms. The more blooms, the more expensive the plant.

·                  Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50 pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache.

·                  A fresh poinsettia is one on which little or no yellow pollen is showing on the flower clusters in the center of the bracts. Plants that have shed their pollen will soon drop their colorful bracts.

·                  Poinsettias represent over 85 percent of the potted plant sales during the holiday season.

·                  Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.

·                  In the 17th century, Juan Balme, a botanist, mentioned poinsettia plants in his writings.

·                  Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett, an ambassador to Mexico.

·                  Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states. California is the top poinsettia producing state.

·                  $220 million worth of poinsettias are sold during the holiday season.

·                  There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available. Seventy-four percent of Americans still prefer red poinsettias; 8 percent prefer white and 6 percent pink.

·                  Eighty percent of poinsettias are purchased by women. Eighty percent of people who purchase poinsettias are 40 or older.

·                  Poinsettias are the best selling flowering potted plant in the United States. In 2004 over 61 million plants were sold.


Follow these tips to enjoy your poinsettia next holiday season:

After the holidays: Place the poinsettia in a very sunny indoor spot and keep soil barely moist. Fertilize as package recommends.  March: Trim to 6 to 8 inches tall after its leaves fall. Continue to water and fertilize.  May: When poinsettia shows strong new growth, repot and bring outdoors. Give plant six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Protect from harsh afternoon sun. Fertilize weekly.  Mid-July: Trim one-fourth of growing tips to encourage branching. Leave at least 2 to 3 large leaves on each stem. Continue watering and fertilizing.  Early autumn: Bring indoors when nights fall below 60°F.  October 1 to December 15: Place your poinsettia in complete darkness from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. in temperatures around 65°F. Any light—even for a moment—will ruin your efforts. Place in a sunny location during the day.  Mid-December: After bracts start to color, a long night is not as necessary, but keep giving poinsettia six to eight hours of bright sunlight until completely colored. Then stop fertilizing and place the plant in its holiday location. Your poinsettia may not be quite as lush or bright as those in the nurseries, but it will still be beautiful.  article by Michelle Leise


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