The name derives from the fact that Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, introduced the first specimens to North America in 1828.
Where is the Poinsettia originally from?
The Poinsettia is originally a sub-tropical plant, native to Mexico and it can grow up to 4 meter in height.
Also the Poinsettia is intolerant to the cold and need to be grown in greenhouses and wrap extremely well when transport it in cold weather.
Montezuma favourite plant
Going back in history, the Aztecs called them Cuetlaxochitl and considered them to be gifts from the gods, representing mortality and purity.
Montezuma, last of the Aztec Emperors, filled his palace with poinsettias.
The Cuetlaxochitl plants were more than just a symbol, they had practical uses to: the sap was used to reduce fevers and a dye was made from the leaves.
Why is it a Christmas Plant?
The poinsettia’s association with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend.
The story goes that a child, with no means for a gift, gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at the church alter on Christmas Eve.
Then during the Christmas celebration the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.
Are Poinsettia Toxic?
Many people believe that poinsettias are highly toxic, but that is a myth.
It’s definitely not recommended for people or animals to eat poinsettias, but a child would need to eat approximately 500 leaves to have a major reaction.
Some people who have a latex allergy might find skin contact with poinsettia sap irritates their skin.
For how long has Poinsettia been popular at Christmas?
In 1830 the Poinsettias were fragile and mostly seen only in the glasshouses and conservatories of wealthy collectors and Botanical Gardens.
In 1920, the Ecke Family (pictured) with some clever branding and a lot of entrepreneurial know-how they managed to make the Poinsettia or Christmas Plant (the name given by the Ecke Family) one of the most sold house plants in the world,
Are the Poinsettia flowers red?
The Poinsettia flowers are little yellow buds in the centre of each collection of leaves and they are definitely not the most beautiful part of the plant.
The most beautiful "petals" of the poinsettia aren't flowers at all, but lush red, white or green leaves.
How many Poinsettia do we buy in the UK?
Every year we buy around 8 million plants in UK.
Along with Orchids they are one of the most sold houseplants.
The majority of Poinsettia are grown in UK by specialist growers and it takes approximately 6 months to grow to marketable size.
Not so easy as you think!
Poinsettia need to have twelve hours of darkness for at least five nights in a row in order for the bracts to change colour.
Even bright streetlights can cause confusion for this plant, so it’s not as simple a process as you might think for the commercial growers.
How many varieties of Poinsettia exist?
There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today.
Poinsettias can grow in colours like the traditional red, white, pink, burgundy, marbled, and speckled.
We hope you enjoy this Season with some ancient Aztec wonder by your side!