Poinsettia: Houseplant of the Month for December

The poinsettia’s cheerful colours are just what you need in the dark days before Christmas and the arrival of 2020.

Theatrical character
When you first notice about the poinsettia are the beautifully coloured leaves. They’re often thought to be the flowers, but are actually bracts that form a star shape around the true flowers, which are small and yellow in the heart. It’s an instant mood maker for the holidays and thereafter, because this winter bloomer provides a colourful start to 2020 in fabulous pastel shades.

Poinsettia delights

  • It has got dark early, the candles are lit, a beautiful poinsettia on display – how much more snug could things get?
  • Poinsettia (also known as the Christmas star) comes in red and white, but also in cream, claret, lemon, pink, salmon and purple.
  • This winter bloomer comes in all sizes from XS to XXXL.
  • Poinsettia is perfect for creating a bit of a festive mood without making it too Christmassy straightaway.
  • Share the joy: traditionally December 12th is the day when you give someone a poinsettia as a gift.

How did this star become so associated with Christmas?
According to a Mexican legend a poor girl picked some herbs from the roadside and used it to make a bouquet to give to the baby Jesus on Christmas night. That night the posy started to bloom with red and green flowers, which the Church considered to be a Christmas miracle. The ‘Flores de Noche Buena’ is associated with Christmas in many countries.

Mexican herb
Poinsettia originates from Mexico and Central America, where it grows as a herbaceous shrub that can reach a height of 4 metres. The plant blooms outdoors from November to February, and the bush is bare in summer. The Aztecs considered the plant to be holy; they called it Cuitla-xochitl.

QUOTE
“My poinsettia did not turn scarlet until I planted it in new surroundings. Colour is not something one has, colour is bestowed on one by others.”
Arthur Japin – The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi

 Poinsettia with style
After an intense year it’s nice to conclude 2019 beautifully and gently with poinsettias in candy colours. Place them in knitted pot covers in order to emphasise the friendly look, or decorate the pots with baubles for a lively, modern festive feeling. The larger specimens look best on the floor or on a low table so that you can particularly look down onto the attractive bracts. The smaller poinsettias should be spread throughout the room: friendliness and cheerful colours everywhere for a beautiful, luxurious grand finale to 2019.

How to keep it looking beautiful

  • Poinsettia is sensitive to cold. Wrap it up nice and warm for the journey home after buying.
  • The plant likes a light spot without bright sunshine.
  • The soil should always be slightly damp.
  • The plant cannot cope with draughts or very warm locations, such as above the radiator or next to a crackling log fire.
  • Some plant food once a fortnight is appreciated
  • If your poinsettia’s leaves turn yellow and drop off, you should place the plant in a cooler and lighter spot and increase the humidity. That should perk it back up.