Poinsettias

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are also known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower.  It's said that poinsettias association with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend. The story goes that a child, with no means for a grander gift, gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at the church alter on Christmas Eve. As the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle, the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.

Named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, first United States ambassador to Mexico and the amateur botanist who introduced the plant to the U.S. in 1825, the poinsettia is also known as Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena and, in Turkey, Atakurk's Flower, because it was the favorite flower of Atakurk, the founder of modern Turkey.

While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be symbols of purity, in today's language of flowers, red, white or pink poinsettias, the December birth flower, symbolize good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration.

Hardiness Degree: 10.0°C (50°F)

Water: Medium

Fertilize: Every two weeks

Remember to protect your poinsettias from cool temperatures, especially while transporting them in the Winter.  They don't like any drafts at all and even a very short time in the cold will cause the plant to deteriorate. Cold drafts or allowing the leaves to touch a cold window can injure the leaves and cause premature leaf drop.  Keep the poinsettia away from heat registers or ducts and away from drafty windows or doors. Never transport an unwrapped poinsettia, regardless of how warm it is outside!  Do not put them in the trunk on the way home. Do not leave them in the car while you do a few more errands and allow them to be chilled - this is a common problem with poinsettia care leading to leaf drop.  Simply imagine that you have a summer t-shirt on and if it is too cold for you, it is way too cold for our tropical plant friends.  If you’ve ever see a gangly poinsettia in bloom, with only a couple of sad looking leaves hanging on, it was probably exposed to temperatures that were too cool or extreme shifts in temperature.

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