11 December 2001
Did you know that the Poinsettia is now the most popular pot plant in the UK?
By careful breeding and production we can now buy these traditional plants in all shades of Pink, Red, Cream and even Marbled shades.
The coloured part of the plant is not actually flower, but coloured bracts or leaves, that would direct a pollinating insect into the rather small insignificant flower at the end of each stem!
When you buy your Christmas plant try to choose a good sturdy plant, with leaves that go all the way down the stem to the pot. Bring it home with great care, and be wary of buying a Poinsettia from a cold place like an outdoor market stall. Poinsettias need temperatures between 16 & 18 ºC, lots of light, and an airy position away from cold draughts.
Watering can be best achieved by standing your plant in tepid water in the sink for about 20 minutes, then letting it drain fully.
The Poinsettia is a native plant of Mexico and is known as "The Flower of the Holy Night". It was the Franciscan priests in the 17th Century who first used the Poinsettia as a Christmas plant - possibly because the Aztecs used the plant as a symbol of purity.
When Joel Robert Poinsettia first introduced the plant to America in 1825 little did he know that he was starting such a huge industry, currently worth in excess of £10 million in the UK alone!