Posted on Dec 13, 2023 at 1:25 pm by Emily A
The date of December 12th of each year has been declared “National Poinsettia Day” by French producers of the plant, as is also practiced in other countries (United States, Spain, Netherlands): it is an opportunity to highlight this star-shaped plant, essential as the holidays approach!
Why is the poinsettia called the Christmas star?
It is the petals, or more precisely the fiery red bracts arranged in a star shape and giving their best during the holiday season, that have given this plant, native to Central America, the nickname “Christmas star”.
The true flowers are completely insignificant, grouped in the center of the corolla.
The bracts are colorful leaf-like structures that are also found in bougainvilleas and clerodendrons.
Poinsettia: a symphony of red to brighten up your holidays?
In the poinsettia, its true name, the color red is undoubtedly the most classic and the most widespread. But you can find varieties with pink, salmon, yellow, cream-white, white, sometimes variegated bracts, with bright green leaves.
This indoor plant in our regions belongs to the Euphorbia family, a group that includes more than 2,000 species!
In the Tropics, poinsettias can easily exceed 2 meters in height. In our regions, they are more modest and easily fit in a pot. There are even dwarf varieties, suitable for table decoration.
Is the poinsettia toxic?
You can also make very nice bouquets with poinsettias, provided you burn the base of the stems, as once cut, they release a latex that can cause irritation.
It is also better to watch children so that they do not put the leaves or bracts in their mouth.
How to take care of a poinsettia and make it bloom again?
The poinsettia requires, to develop well, a mixture, one-third garden soil, one-third compost, and one-third sand. Place it in a bright location and water it regularly. Between waterings, allow the growing medium to dry out a bit, as too much moisture softens its stems.
When it has finished blooming, cut back the branches severely and repot before placing the pot in a cool room. It will naturally start growing again.
But to get new, brightly colored bracts, you need to give it as much darkness as light starting from the end of summer, which is not always possible to achieve!
In the fall, to make your poinsettia bloom again, keep it in total darkness for 12 hours a day for several weeks. For example, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.
What is the lifespan of a poinsettia?
The lifespan of a poinsettia depends on several factors, including the care it receives and the environmental conditions.
With proper care, a poinsettia can bloom for 2 or 3 months.
Generally, poinsettias bloom for a period of 4 to 6 weeks before the flowers begin to fall.