It’s holiday time! What winter holiday is complete without poinsettias. When I think about this plant I imagine the bright red blooms of the typical variety set against dark green foliage. It perfectly represents the traditional colors of Christmas. The deep red poinsettia is the most common, but this leafy shrub comes in a variety of colors. In fact, there are over 100 poinsettia cultivars available and that is not including those sprinkled with glitter and spray paint.

Recently I took a tour of the Lauritzen Gardens Botanical Center’s holiday poinsettia show to familiarize myself with this popular holiday plant and check out some beautiful varieties.

Poinsettia Facts:

  • What is typically thought of as flowers, the bright red and colorful top portion of the plant, are actually leaves called “bracts”.
  • The flower is located in the center of the bracts.
  • Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were brought to the U.S. in 1825 by Joel Roberts Poinsett.
  • This plant belongs to the Euphorbia genus which is one of the largest genre of flowering plants containing over 2,000 species.
  • Poinsettias grow as low shrubs or trees. In their native environment they can grow as tall as 10 feet.

Poinsettia Care:

  • Place plant in area where it receives at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight a day.
  • Avoid drafts, heat vents and places near fireplaces. Keep temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water plant when surface soil feels dry to the touch. Do not allow plant to sit in standing water and remove all water from saucer to ward off root rot.
  • Do not fertilize while plant is in bloom.
  • Bracts will fall off within 4 to 6 weeks.