2013-12-06 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Fun Facts About Poinsettia Plants
by Danielle Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

The poinsettia plant is a native of Mexico. There is an old tale that says that long ago, a poor Mexican boy was going to see the nativity in his local church, and wanted to bring something special to leave at the altar. He had no money, and looked on the streets along the way for a beautiful flower to give. He could only find leaves and stems on the roadway, so he chose a branch of greens. When the little boy left the stem at the nativity, hundreds of red flowers bloomed among the leaves, and the poinsettia plant became famously tied to Christmas. It has been used in decorations for centuries, and the tradition continues throughout the recent years.

Poinsettias are the most popular plant for the Christmas season, representing 85 percent of all plant sales. On average, 65 million poinsettias are sold each year in the six-week period leading to Christmas and $220 million dollars are made in this short time in the U.S. There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available, varying in size and shape of its petals, and having a wide range of color. Of them all, 74 percent of Americans prefer red poinsettias, 8 percent prefer white, and 6 percent choose pink.

Poinsettias are commercially grown in all of the 50 states, while 80 percent of all poinsettias grown in the U.S. come from California. In fact, 90 percent of all poinsettia plants in the world are grown there and are exported from the U.S. Did you know that 80 percent of poinsettias are purchased by women, and 80 percent of people who purchase poinsettias are 40 and older?

In nature, poinsettia plants are perennials, and can grow to be 10-feet tall. The showy, colorful part of the poinsettias is called bracts. Many people believe these bracts are petals, but they are actually the plant’s leaves that have changed color. The actual flower is the small cluster of buds at the center of the colorful leaves. Poinsettias should be kept away from direct sunlight and even further away from drafts. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy and try not to let them dry out between watering.

Hope you enjoyed these fun facts about poinsettia plants. They are a prominent part of our holiday decorations. We can hardly remember a home visited during the holidays that did not have one by the fireplace, in a hall, or even a small one on a side table. No matter the size or color, they really help to bring in the feeling that the holidays are here again.

You can visit us on the web at www.DaniellesRockawayFlorist.com or feel free to write to us at 436 Beach 129th Street with your gardening questions or tips for our readers. Have a Happy Holiday Season!

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