Skip to content

Learn The History And Truth About Poinsettias

InColor Plants Dec 23, 2022 8:56:07 AM
Learn The History And Truth About Poinsettias

InColor Is Rooted In Expertise

Imagine reflective white flakes piling up outside, a fire crackling in the fireplace and sipping sweet hot chocolate while you decorate your home for the holidays. With robust colors adorning your home like gold, silver, and blue, the two most consistent and popular colors will be red and green.

Originating from the Celtic traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice, red and green came from the holly the Celtic people believed brought beauty and good fortune in the middle of winters where food and hunting would drastically decline. They began to regularly outfit their homes with holly to promote good fortune to their homes and families. In current days, red and green have become the main colors that reflect some winter holidays such as Christmas.

Not only do we use decor such as wreaths, tinsel, garland, but we also have beautiful plants such as Poinsettias that proudly show off the true holiday spirit. With hearty green foliage and ruby red “flowers”, these plants symbolize the “Christmas Spirit” to many.

But over time, a lot of miscommunication has surrounded this fabulous form of greenery. From common misconceptions such as they won’t survive indoors to hazardous tales of seriously harming our pets and loved ones. Together, let’s learn the truth about Poinsettias.

Poinsettias have been related to Christmas and its traditions since the 1600’s in southern Mexico and they were first brought to the United States in 1825 by the first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett. The Poinsettia took off quickly once people found out about its beauty and started to ship it everywhere. The bright red “flower” is what made the Poinsettia really take off commercially for the holidays, but it turns out it’s not even the true flower of the plant. The red star we see is actually a part of the plant’s “bract” or the protective part of the flower which generally grows within the bracts themselves.

Here in the 2020’s, we commonly see Poinsettias across America for the holidays and Colorado is no exception. They have sadly become less commonly used in households due to misconceptions about the white sap that hides within the dark green branches and the toxicity that may lie within. But many universities and important groups like The Society of American Florists have performed extensive research into this tale of toxic terror and they’ve found you would have to eat copious amounts to illicit a reaction. If your four-legged friends get into it, they may feel nauseous, but just make sure to keep them hydrated and rested to ensure they fully recover as soon as possible.

The next obstacle for Poinsettias is that some folks may find them hard to care for. But with the right knowledge, any plant can be cared for anywhere. There are two key things that Poinsettias will need to make it through to the end of the holidays and into the new year: moist, fertilized soil and consistent temperature and light. Keeping the soil moist and fertilized every few weeks with an even organic mixture of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium will help your Poinsettia thrive. Make sure the bottom of your planter has proper drainage to let the water out and oxygen in. Next, make sure your plant is receiving indirect bright light and is away from any direct form of ventilation or drafts. Keep temperatures consistent anywhere between 60F-70F. With these few conditions met, you’ll be able to keep your Poinsettia well into the new year!

Are you looking to keep your new plant friend all year around and into the next holiday season? With some hard work, you’ll be able to do that. Once the color fades from your plants in early April, begin trimming the branches back to 8” while continuing to water and fertilize regularly. May will bring new growth and in June you’ll be able to re-pot your new friend and bring it outside once temperatures stay consistently over 55F. Make sure to keep it out of the direct sunlight. From July into October is where the real work begins. To ensure that your plant reproduces the same robust crimson colors for the holidays, it will need a consistent schedule of light and dark. With at least 12 hours of consistent, pure darkness and the rest of the day in its normal light requirements, you’ll begin to notice the “bract” turning red near the end of October and into November. Once it has re-bloomed, you’ll be able to enjoy it for another season!

With this knowledge you’ll be able to go strong into this holiday plant season with a good grasp on how to keep one of the most popular holiday plants in your home with your family and pets. Good luck, plant pals!

Gardening Question?
Ask Our Experts and we'll get back to you!


Subscribe to Be A Planting Pro


View all blogs