Christmas Poinsettias – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Red Poinsettia - TF103-1
Red Poinsettia - TF103-1

Yesterday – The History and Legend of the Poinsettia

Joel Robert Poinsett, who was an amateur botanist and the first ambassador to Mexico, first introduced poinsettias to the United States in 1825 when he brought some cuttings to his plantation in Greenwood, South Carolina.  When Poinsett died in 1851, December 12 was declared Nationnal Poinsettia Day, an official day set aside to enjoy this symbol of holiday cheer.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they grow wild. The enchanting legend of the poinsettia dates back several centuries, to a Christmas Eve in Mexico when a little girl named Pepita had no gift to present to the Christ child.

Her cousin Pedro urged her to give a humble gift. So, on her way to church she gathered some weeds she found along the road. As she approached the altar, a miracle happened: The weeds blossomed into brilliant flowers. Then they were called Flores de Noche Buena – Flowers of the Holy Night. Now they are called poinsettias.

Today – Enjoying Your Poinsettia During the Christmas Holiday

Poinsettias are a versatile decorative staple, perfect for use at home on the table or in front of the hearth.  At work, poinsettias make beautiful stand-alone decorative accents in long hallways, simply placed on a desk, or filling the foyer with bright red and green.   And they are perfect to send home with employees just before the Christmas holiday.

Poinsettias complement almost any holiday decor because of their classic vibrant red and green colors.  They can be placed on the floor, on accent tables or on the dining room sidebar.  Any interior space that needs just a touch more holiday can be celebrated with a poinsettia or two.   Because they are so traditional, we immediately think of the holidays when we see them.  And more than 50 million poinsettias are expected to be sold this holiday season!

Choosing Your Poinsettia: (Or let your florist choose a healthy poinsettia for you!)

  • Inspect the bracts. Bracts are modified leaves and are the colored portion of the poinsettia plant. Bracts should have good color, a mature shape and not have a great deal of green along the edges.
  • Examine the leaves. Rich, dark green foliage is a sign of health in poinsettia plants. Make sure the leaves are plentiful and are growing down the length of the stem.
  • Note the size of the pot. The poinsettia should be growing in a container appropriate for the plant. The accepted guideline is that the poinsettia should be approximately 2 1/2 times the diameter of the pot.
  • Check the soil. Stick your finger in the soil and test the moisture. Avoid plants with soggy soil and appear to be wilting. This could be a sign of over watering and possibly root rot. Poinsettia soil should be moist and only allowed to become dry to a depth of 1/2 inch.
  • Observe how the poinsettias are being displayed. Be cautious of poinsettia that are displayed in plastic sleeves or crowded together. They need space and crowding can cause the plant to loose bracts.
  • Evaluate the poinsettia’s general appearance. The poinsettia should appear full from all angles, without bare spots. The stems should be erect and leaves and bracts do not appear wilted. If leaves or bracts fall from the poinsettia when you pick it up, choose another plant.

Keeping Your Family and Pets Safe – The Poinsettia Toxicity Myth

The poinsettia is widely tested as a consumer plant, proving the myth about the popular holiday plant to be false:

  • Scientific research from The Ohio State University has proved the poinsettia to be non-toxic to both humans and pets.  All parts of the plant were tested, including the leaves and sap.
  • According to POISINDEX, the national information center for poison control centers, a child would have to ingest 500-600 leaves in order to exceed the experimental doses that found no toxicity.
  • A study from the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University found that out of 22,793 reported poinsettia exposures there was essentially no toxicity significance of any kind. The study used national data collected by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
  • As with any non-food product, however, the poinsettia is not meant to be eaten and can cause varying degrees of discomfort; therefore, the plant should be kept out of the reach of young children and curious pets.
     

Tomorrow – Poinsettia Care Tips

Poinsettias are long-lasting blooming plants. To keep your poinsettia blooming all year long, follow the care tips listed below:

To keep the poinsettia blooming:

  • When surface soil is dry to the touch, water thoroughly. Discard excess water in the saucer.
  • To prolong color, keep a temperature range of 60 degrees for night and 72 degrees for day.
  • High humidity is preferable.
  • Place plant away from hot or cold drafts, and protect from cold winds.

 To rebloom for the next season:

  • During winter, continue to follow holiday upkeep tips.
  • March 1 (St. Patrick’s Day): When bracts fade, cut stems back to eight inches above soil line.
  • Continue to water regularly.
  • Lightly fertilize with a balanced all-purpose plant food every three to four weeks.
  • When temperatures are warm, place plant outdoors; first in indirect, then direct sunlight.
  • Avoid temperatures below 50 degrees throughout the summer.
  •  July 4 (Independence Day): Cut back new growth stems. Repot if needed.
  • Early September (Labor Day): Move plant inside. Provide six ormore hours of direct light.
  • October 1 through December: Confine plant to complete darkness for 14 hours, giving it 10 hours of natural light daily. This will set the buds and cause bracts to color.

MyFlorist is a proud provider of poinsettias and holiday flowers in the Washington DC Metro.   Deck the halls, decorators!

McCain, Obama & Anniversary Flowers

We know Barack chose white roses with babies’ breath for his and Michelle’s 16th wedding anniversay.   It was reported by the Chicago Sun!   And while we didn’t catch the scoop on the type of flowers John might have chosen for his and Cindy’s 28th anniversary, we dare to presume he may have sent her orchids…    

If you are looking for ideas for your own upcoming anniversary, here are some great suggestions:

Her Favorite Flowers – This is a great choice, but talk with your florist to make sure they are in season.  Not all flowers are stocked year-round.

Flowers in Her Favorite Color – Your florist can create a beautiful arrangement in shades of almost any color.

Roses –  Roses are anniversary favorites world-wide because they symbolize romantic love, celebration and high value.

Holland Arrangement – The best quality flowers come from Holland.  These are usually the preferred flowers for weddings, anniversaries and special events because of their color, texture and superior quality.

Exotic Flowers – For a bolder, more distinctive floral gift, you might consider a tropical design. 

MyFlorist has a unique selection of breathtaking anniversary arrangements.  Keep us in mind for your next anniversary! 

MyFlorist.  Your Expression.  Our Passion.

Flowers & The Economy

Classic
Classic

As the US government pushes the record-making $700 billion bail-out for the banking sector, and a $25 billion loan to carmakers, our confidence as consumers takes a tumble. We, as a nation, are cutting back, learning to live on a cash basis. Fuel and food prices are going up and we hear “economic depression” on the news and around the water cooler. So in this economy, who can afford luxuries like flowers? If we put aside certain events like weddings and funerals and Mother’s Day where flowers are often necessary to express our feelings, what else warrants such decadent spending? Let’s do a Top 10 list of Why Flowers Are Always Affordable:

  1. Flowers bring us back to Mother Earth. They are alive. Touch them and you can’t help but feel more connected to the universe.
  2. Flowers are easy to order online and have sent almost anywhere in the world, usually within half a business day. So they are great for last minute gifts or far away loved ones.
  3. Flowers never go out of style. They can express a gracious business thank you or a fun nudge to say, “Hey, I’m still thinking of you.”
  4. Flowers soothe us. The aroma, the delicate beauty and the gentle spirit of flowers give us those “Stop and Smell the Flowers” moments away from the financial and technical stress in our everyday lives.
  5. Flowers give us a lot of bang for our luxury buck. For the same price as a dozen beautiful roses you could fill up your gas tank, buy a pair of slacks, or pay your cell phone bill. But you wouldn’t get the “Ooh’s and Ahh’s”.
  6. Flowers dress up a room and make us feel loved. Those of
    us who have been unfortunate enough to stay in the hospital
    for more than a couple of nights without getting flowers know it’s just not
    right.
  7. Flowers encourage and cheer us on. You can congratulate someone with a card or you can show them how proud you are – expressing even deeper levels of feeling – even more with flowers.
  8. Flowers are romantic. Red roses are still a requirement
    for any important evening that involves romance.
    Having roses delivered to her office or home before you pick her up can set
    the right tone for the night.
  9. Flowers give us bragging rights at the office. Not that we’d actually brag. It’s a given that someone thinks us awesome.
  10. Flowers are a luxury. Having a fresh floral arrangement in any room of your house is like sleeping on Egyptian cotton, wearing silk or sipping a fine wine. They are sensuous and beautiful like a summer breeze through the trees with sunlight on our faces and freshly cut grass between our toes.

Balance your checkbook. Pay your bills. Check your investments. And then send
some flowers
.