Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poinsettias: Odd Tidbits And Unexpected Advice

Native to Mexico, the plant we all know as Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is the top selling flowering potted plant in America.

We found this site with other fun poinsettia facts, and here are a few of our favorites:
  • Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States (boost the U.S. economy, buy yourself a poinsettia!)
  • The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think are the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).
  • A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50 pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache. (But we don't recommend you try this at home!)
  • Seventy-four percent of Americans still prefer red poinsettias; 8 percent prefer white and 6 percent pink. (We love the pink ones! They're traditional with a twist.)
Like any other euphorbia, the milky white sap can cause skin irritation, so wash your hands if you get some on you, and don't rub your eyes! (During the 14th through 16th century the sap was used to control fevers, but again, we don't recommend you try this at home.)

If you leave your new poinsettia in the decorative foil, be sure to punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer.

And we found this advice on poinsettia care from Horticulture Magazine's website:

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Bright light, normal room temperatures (60?–70?F), and regular watering suit newly acquired plants. Cut the stems down to six inches in the spring and keep the soil nearly dry until new growth appears. Repot and water well over the summer. In mid-fall, increase watering and feeding and keep the plant in total darkness for 14 hours a day until flower bracts form and begin to show color. Then treat normally.

Total darkness for 14 hours a day?! Who would ever guess that you stuff a poinsettia in your coat closet to make it bloom?

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