Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a culturally and commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825.

Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

History About Poinsettia Plants

  • The Aztecs called poinsettias “Cuetlaxochitl.” During the 14th – 16th century the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye.
  • Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because poinsettias could not be grown in the high altitude.
  • In the 17th century, Juan Balme, a botanist, noted the poinsettia plant in his writings.
  • The botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, was assigned to the poinsettia by the German botanist, Wilenow. The plant grew through a crack in his greenhouse. Dazzled by its color, he gave it the botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima meaning “very beautiful.”
  • Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico being appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820’s. At the time of his appointment, Mexico was involved in a civil war. Because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico. During his stay in Mexico he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Poinsett had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States.
  • William Prescott, a historian and horticulturist, was asked to give Euphorbia pulcherrima a new name as it became more popular. At that time Mr. Prescott had just published a book called the ‘Conquest of Mexico’ in which he detailed Joel Poinsett’s discovery of the plant. Prescott named the plant the poinsettia in honor of Joel Poinsett’s discovery.
  • A nurseryman from Pennsylvania, John Bartram is credited as being the first  person to sell poinsettias under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima
  • In the early 1900’s the Ecke family of southern California grew poinsettias outdoors for use as landscape plants and as a cut flower. Eventually the family grew poinsettias in greenhouses and today is recognized as the leading producer of poinsettias in the United States.

Selecting Your Poinsettia plants

The plant you choose should have dark green foliage. fallen yet low or damaged leaves indicate poor handling or fertilization, lack of water or a root disease problem. The colorful flower bracts (red, pink, white or bicolor pink and white) Should be in proportion to the plant and pot size. Little or no pollen should be showing oil the actual flowers (those red or green button-like parts in the center of the colorful bracts).

Christmas Care

Be sure the plant is well wrapped when you take it outside on your trip home because exposure to low temperatures for even a short time can injure leaves and bracts. Unwrap the plant as soon as possible because the petioles (stems of the leaves and bracts) can droop and twist if the plant is left wrapped for too long.

For maximum plant life, place your poinsettia near a sunny window Or Some other well-lighted areas Do not let any part of the plant touch cold window panes. Poinsettias are tropical plants and are usually grown at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F in greenhouses, so this temperature range ill the home is best for long plant life. High temperatures will shorten the file of the bracts Poinsettias do no[ tolerate warm or cold drafts so keep them away from radiators, air registers, and fans as well as open windows or doors. Place your poinsettia in a cooler room at night (55 to 60 degrees F is ideal) to extend the blooming time.

Examine the soil daily and water only when it feels dry. Always water enough to soak the soil to the bottom of the pot and discard the excess water. If you don’t water enough, the plant will wilt mid the lower leaves will drop. If you water too much the lower leaves will yellow and then drop. If you keep your plant for several months, apply a soluble houseplant fertilizer, once or twice a month according to the manufacturers recommendations.

Reflowering

If you plan on saving your poinsettia and reflowering it next year, follow the procedure explained below and illustrated below.

Late Winter and Early Spring Care

Poinsettias have long-lasting flowers – their bracts will remain showy for several months. During this time, side shoots will develop below the bracts and grow up above the old flowering stems. To have a well-shaped plant for the following year, you need to cut each of the old flowering stems or branches back to 4 to 6 inches in height. Leave one to three leaves on each of the old stems or branches – new ,growth comes from buds located in the leaf axils. Cutting the plant back will cause the buds to grow and develop. This cutting back is usually done in February or early March. Keep the plant in I a sunny window at a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees F and water as described above. Fertilize as needed every 2 weeks.

Late Spring and Summer Care

If the plant is too large for the old pot, repot it into a larger pot. Any of he common peat moss and vermiculite/perlite potting soils sold at garden centers are satisfactory and easy to use. If you want to prepare your own growing medium, use 2 parts sterilized garden soil, I part peat moss and I part sand vermiculite or perlite plus I tablespoon of superphosphate per, pot and thoroughly mix.

After the danger of spring frost is past and night temperatures exceed 50 degrees F, sink the poinsettia pot to the rim in the ground in a well-drained, slightly shaded spot outdoors. Remember that the plant may need to be watered more frequently than the rest of your garden. Between 15 and August 1, prune all shoots to about 4 inches, leaving about one, to three leaves on each shoot and fertilize.

Fall Care

Take your poinsettia plant indoors at night well before the first frost (usually about September 15 in lower Michigan) to avoid chilling injury (this occurs when temperatures are below 45 degrees F for an extended period). The poinsettia can be placed back outdoors in the daytime when temperatures are warm enough or in a sunny window. Fertilize every 2 weeks To reflower your poinsettia, you must keep the plant in complete darkness between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily from the end of September until color shows in the bracts (early to mid-December). The temperature should remain between 60 and 70 degrees F. Night temperatures above 70 to 75 degrees F may delay or prevent flowering. If you follow this procedure the poinsettia will flower for Christmas.

Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

Poinsettia Facts

10 Interesting Facts about Poinsettias

  • No flower says Christmas like the beautiful poinsettia. Learn a few facts about this traditional Christmas plant.
  • Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima.
  • Many plants in the Euphorbiaceae family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves. For pets, the poinsettia sap may cause mild irritation or nausea. Probably best to keep pets away from the plant, especially puppies and kittens.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to have any harmful effect. Plus poinsettia leaves have an awful taste. You might want to keep your pets from snacking on poinsettia leaves. Eating the leaves can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).
  • Poinsettias have also been called the lobster flower and the flame-leaf flower, due to the red color.
  • Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the poinsettia plant to the United States from Mexico. Poinsett was a botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico.
  • In Mexico the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that will grow 10-15 feet tall.
  • There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today. Poinsettias come in colors like the traditional red, white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.
  • The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 70% of all Poinsettias purchased in the United States and does about 50% of the world-wide sales of Poinsettias.
  • December 12th is Poinsettia Day, which marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett in 1851.

What’s in a Name

  • Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima.
  • In Nahuatl , the language of the Aztecs, the Poinsettia was called Cuitlaxochitl (from cuitlatl, for residue, and xochitl, for flower), meaning “flower that grows in residues or soil.”
  • Today the plant is known in Mexico and Guatemala as “”La Flor de la Nochebuena” (Flower of the Holy Night, or Christmas Eve).
  • In Chile and Peru, the Poinsettia is called the “Crown of the Andes”.
  • In Spain the Poinsettia has a different holiday attribution. It is known there as “Flor de Pascua”, meaning “Easter flower”.
  • Poinsettias have also been called the lobster flower and the flame-leaf flower, due to the red color.
  • Poinsettias received their name in the United States in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant into the country in 1828. Poinsett was a botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. He sent cuttings of the plant he had discovered in Southern Mexico to his home in Charleston, South Carolina. The word Poinsettia is traditionally capitalized because it is named after a person.

Anatomy of a Poinsettia

  • The showy colored parts of Poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves). The yellow flowers, or cyathia, are in the center of the colorful bracts. The plant drops its bracts and leaves soon after those flowers shed their pollen. For the longest-lasting Poinsettias, choose plants with little or no yellow pollen showing.
  • Many plants in the Euphorbiaceae family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves.
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than a pound-and-a-quarter of Poinsettia leaves (500 to 600 leaves) to have any side effects. The most common side effects that have been reported from Poinsettia ingestions are upset stomach and vomiting. The leaves are reportedly not very tasty, so it’s highly unlikely that kids or even pets would be able to eat that many! But be aware that the leaves can still be a choking hazard for children and pets.
  • In nature, Poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that were once considered weeds.
  • Poinsettias are not frost-tolerant. They will grow outdoors in temperate coastal climates, such as Southern California beach communities. In the ground, they can reach 10 feet tall.
  • The colors of the bracts are created through “photoperiodism”, meaning that they require darkness (12 hours at a time for at least five days in a row) to change color. On the other hand, once Poinsettias finish that process, the plants require abundant light during the day for the brightest color.

Poinsettias by the Number

  • There are over 100 varieties of Poinsettias available. Though once only available in red, there are now Poinsettias in pink, white, yellow, purple, salmon, and multi-colors. They have names like ‘Premium Picasso’, ‘Monet Twilight’, ‘Shimmer’, and ‘Surprise’.
  • The red Poinsettia still dominates over other color options. ‘Prestige Red’–one of many poinsettias patented by Ecke–ranks among the best-selling hybrids.
  • Poinsettias contribute over $250 million to the U.S. economy at the retail level.
  • California is the top U.S. Poinsettia-producing state.
  • Poinsettias are the best selling potted plant in the United States and Canada.
  • Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant. Most Poinsettias are sold within a six-week period leading up to that holiday, representing some $60 million worth.
  • It is estimated that women account for 80% of Poinsettia sales.
  • The most common question people have about Poinsettias is how to get them to rebloom in successive years.
Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhouse

Poinsettia plants under cultivation in a greenhousehttp://i2.wp.com/plexusworld.com/wp-content/uploads/PoinsettiaGreenhouse_EN-US8357920723_1366x768.jpg?fit=1024%2C1024http://i2.wp.com/plexusworld.com/wp-content/uploads/PoinsettiaGreenhouse_EN-US8357920723_1366x768.jpg?resize=150%2C150 Damien Lucian Old Article,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a culturally and commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. It derives its common English...
The <strong>poinsettia</strong> (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a culturally and commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825. <h2>History About Poinsettia Plants</h2> <ul> <li>The Aztecs called <strong>poinsettias</strong> "Cuetlaxochitl." During the 14th - 16th century the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye.</li> <li>Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because poinsettias could not be grown in the high altitude.</li> <li>In the 17th century, Juan Balme, a botanist, noted the poinsettia plant in his writings.</li> <li>The botanical name, <em>Euphorbia pulcherrima</em>, was assigned to the poinsettia by the German botanist, Wilenow. The plant grew through a crack in his greenhouse. Dazzled by its color, he gave it the botanical name, <em>Euphorbia pulcherrima</em> meaning "very beautiful."</li> <li>Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico being appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820's. At the time of his appointment, Mexico was involved in a civil war. Because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico. During his stay in Mexico he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Poinsett had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States.</li> <li>William Prescott, a historian and horticulturist, was asked to give <em>Euphorbia pulcherrima </em>a new name as it became more popular. At that time Mr. Prescott had just published a book called the ‘Conquest of Mexico’ in which he detailed Joel Poinsett’s discovery of the plant. Prescott named the plant the poinsettia in honor of Joel Poinsett’s discovery.</li> <li>A nurseryman from Pennsylvania, John Bartram is credited as being the first  person to sell poinsettias under its botanical name, <em>Euphorbia pulcherrima</em></li> <li>In the early 1900's the Ecke family of southern California grew poinsettias outdoors for use as landscape plants and as a cut flower. Eventually the family grew poinsettias in greenhouses and today is recognized as the leading producer of poinsettias in the United States.</li> </ul> <h2>Selecting Your Poinsettia plants</h2> The plant you choose should have dark green foliage. fallen yet low or damaged leaves indicate poor handling or fertilization, lack of water or a root disease problem. The colorful flower bracts (red, pink, white or bicolor pink and white) Should be in proportion to the plant and pot size. Little or no pollen should be showing oil the actual flowers (those red or green button-like parts in the center of the colorful bracts). <h2>Christmas Care</h2> Be sure the plant is well wrapped when you take it outside on your trip home because exposure to low temperatures for even a short time can injure leaves and bracts. Unwrap the plant as soon as possible because the petioles (stems of the leaves and bracts) can droop and twist if the plant is left wrapped for too long. For maximum plant life, place your poinsettia near a sunny window Or Some other well-lighted areas Do not let any part of the plant touch cold window panes. Poinsettias are tropical plants and are usually grown at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F in greenhouses, so this temperature range ill the home is best for long plant life. High temperatures will shorten the file of the bracts Poinsettias do no[ tolerate warm or cold drafts so keep them away from radiators, air registers, and fans as well as open windows or doors. Place your poinsettia in a cooler room at night (55 to 60 degrees F is ideal) to extend the blooming time. Examine the soil daily and water only when it feels dry. Always water enough to soak the soil to the bottom of the pot and discard the excess water. If you don't water enough, the plant will wilt mid the lower leaves will drop. If you water too much the lower leaves will yellow and then drop. If you keep your plant for several months, apply a soluble houseplant fertilizer, once or twice a month according to the manufacturers recommendations. <h2>Reflowering</h2> If you plan on saving your poinsettia and reflowering it next year, follow the procedure explained below and illustrated below. <h2>Late Winter and Early Spring Care</h2> <strong>Poinsettias</strong> have long-lasting flowers - their bracts will remain showy for several months. During this time, side shoots will develop below the bracts and grow up above the old flowering stems. To have a well-shaped plant for the following year, you need to cut each of the old flowering stems or branches back to 4 to 6 inches in height. Leave one to three leaves on each of the old stems or branches - new ,growth comes from buds located in the leaf axils. Cutting the plant back will cause the buds to grow and develop. This cutting back is usually done in February or early March. Keep the plant in I a sunny window at a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees F and water as described above. Fertilize as needed every 2 weeks. <h2>Late Spring and Summer Care</h2> If the plant is too large for the old pot, repot it into a larger pot. Any of he common peat moss and vermiculite/perlite potting soils sold at garden centers are satisfactory and easy to use. If you want to prepare your own growing medium, use 2 parts sterilized garden soil, I part peat moss and I part sand vermiculite or perlite plus I tablespoon of superphosphate per, pot and thoroughly mix. After the danger of spring frost is past and night temperatures exceed 50 degrees F, sink the poinsettia pot to the rim in the ground in a well-drained, slightly shaded spot outdoors. Remember that the plant may need to be watered more frequently than the rest of your garden. Between 15 and August 1, prune all shoots to about 4 inches, leaving about one, to three leaves on each shoot and fertilize. <h2>Fall Care</h2> Take your poinsettia plant indoors at night well before the first frost (usually about September 15 in lower Michigan) to avoid chilling injury (this occurs when temperatures are below 45 degrees F for an extended period). The poinsettia can be placed back outdoors in the daytime when temperatures are warm enough or in a sunny window. Fertilize every 2 weeks To reflower your poinsettia, you must keep the plant in complete darkness between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily from the end of September until color shows in the bracts (early to mid-December). The temperature should remain between 60 and 70 degrees F. Night temperatures above 70 to 75 degrees F may delay or prevent flowering. If you follow this procedure the poinsettia will flower for Christmas. <h2>Poinsettia Facts</h2> <h2>10 Interesting Facts about Poinsettias</h2> <ul> <li>No flower says Christmas like the beautiful poinsettia. Learn a few facts about this traditional Christmas plant.</li> <li>Poinsettias are part of the<em> Euphorbiaceae</em> or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as <em>Euphorbia pulcherrima.</em></li> <li>Many plants in the <em>Euphorbiaceae</em> family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves. For pets, the poinsettia sap may cause mild irritation or nausea. Probably best to keep pets away from the plant, especially puppies and kittens.</li> <li>Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to have any harmful effect. Plus poinsettia leaves have an awful taste. You might want to keep your pets from snacking on poinsettia leaves. Eating the leaves can cause vomiting and diarrhea.</li> <li>The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).</li> <li>Poinsettias have also been called the lobster flower and the flame-leaf flower, due to the red color.</li> <li>Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the poinsettia plant to the United States from Mexico. Poinsett was a botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico.</li> <li>In Mexico the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that will grow 10-15 feet tall.</li> <li>There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today. Poinsettias come in colors like the traditional red, white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.</li> <li>The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 70% of all Poinsettias purchased in the United States and does about 50% of the world-wide sales of Poinsettias.</li> <li>December 12th is Poinsettia Day, which marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett in 1851.</li> </ul> <h2>What's in a Name</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Poinsettias</strong> are part of the<em> Euphorbiaceae</em> or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as <em>Euphorbia pulcherrima.</em></li> <li>In Nahuatl , the language of the Aztecs, the Poinsettia was called <em>Cuitlaxochitl</em> (from <em>cuitlatl</em>, for residue, and <em>xochitl</em>, for flower), meaning "flower that grows in residues or soil."</li> <li>Today the plant is known in Mexico and Guatemala as ""La <em>Flor de la Nochebuena</em>" (Flower of the Holy Night, or Christmas Eve).</li> <li>In Chile and Peru, the Poinsettia is called the "Crown of the Andes".</li> <li>In Spain the Poinsettia has a different holiday attribution. It is known there as "Flor de Pascua", meaning "Easter flower".</li> <li>Poinsettias have also been called the lobster flower and the flame-leaf flower, due to the red color.</li> <li>Poinsettias received their name in the United States in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant into the country in 1828. Poinsett was a botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. He sent cuttings of the plant he had discovered in Southern Mexico to his home in Charleston, South Carolina. The word Poinsettia is traditionally capitalized because it is named after a person.</li> </ul> <h2>Anatomy of a Poinsettia</h2> <ul> <li>The showy colored parts of Poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves). The yellow flowers, or <em>cyathia,</em> are in the center of the colorful bracts. The plant drops its bracts and leaves soon after those flowers shed their pollen. For the longest-lasting Poinsettias, choose plants with little or no yellow pollen showing.</li> <li>Many plants in the <em>Euphorbiaceae</em> family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves.</li> <li>Despite rumors to the contrary, Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than a pound-and-a-quarter of Poinsettia leaves (500 to 600 leaves) to have any side effects. The most common side effects that have been reported from Poinsettia ingestions are upset stomach and vomiting. The leaves are reportedly not very tasty, so it's highly unlikely that kids or even pets would be able to eat that many! But be aware that the leaves can still be a choking hazard for children and pets.</li> <li>In nature, Poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that were once considered weeds.</li> <li>Poinsettias are not frost-tolerant. They will grow outdoors in temperate coastal climates, such as Southern California beach communities. In the ground, they can reach 10 feet tall.</li> <li>The colors of the bracts are created through "photoperiodism", meaning that they require darkness (12 hours at a time for at least five days in a row) to change color. On the other hand, once Poinsettias finish that process, the plants require abundant light during the day for the brightest color.</li> </ul> <h2>Poinsettias by the Number</h2> <ul> <li>There are over 100 varieties of <strong>Poinsettias</strong> available. Though once only available in red, there are now Poinsettias in pink, white, yellow, purple, salmon, and multi-colors. They have names like 'Premium Picasso', 'Monet Twilight', 'Shimmer', and 'Surprise'.</li> <li>The red Poinsettia still dominates over other color options. 'Prestige Red'--one of many poinsettias patented by Ecke--ranks among the best-selling hybrids.</li> <li>Poinsettias contribute over $250 million to the U.S. economy at the retail level.</li> <li>California is the top U.S. Poinsettia-producing state.</li> <li>Poinsettias are the best selling potted plant in the United States and Canada.</li> <li>Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant. Most <strong>Poinsettias</strong> are sold within a six-week period leading up to that holiday, representing some $60 million worth.</li> <li>It is estimated that women account for 80% of <strong>Poinsettia</strong> sales.</li> <li>The most common question people have about <strong>Poinsettias</strong> is how to get them to rebloom in successive years.</li> </ul>