Poinsettias Now Available
Poinsettias are now available at Lake Superior Art Gallery in a variety of colours and sizes. From Growers Direct It is important that we protect them from drafts in the Gallery so that you receive a healthy plant.
4.5" Pot-$ 8.99
6” Pot -$15.99
8” Pot -$29.99
History & Legends How to Grow and Care for Poinsettias
In Mexican folklore, there is a story of a little poor girl who had nothing to bring to church for Christmas. On her way to church, she picked some plants by the side of the road. As she entered the church, the ends of the leaves turned into bright, brilliant red flowers. You guessed it... Poinsettias.
These beautiful flowers are recognized as a symbol of Christmas. Poinsettia Day was pronounced as an Act of Congress. It is in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who died on December 12, 1851. Poinsett was the first Ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant back to his plantation in the U.S. He grew the plants in his Greenville, S.C plantation and gave them out as gifts to friends.
• 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.
Originally from Mexico and Central America, Poinsettias are by far the most popular of flower plants during Christmas. As a matter of fact, they are the largest flowering plant crop in the U.S. with sales of over 63 million pots! Native to the warmer southwestern U.S. climates and Mexico, Poinsettias are susceptible to cold and frost. So, when you bring them home in cold weather, make sure to bring them right home. Don't leave them in your car and go back to your Christmas shopping.
Poinsettias are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first Ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant back to his plantation in the U.S. He grew the plants in his Greenville, S.C plantation and gave them out as gifts to friends.
Did you Know? Poinsettia Day is December 12th. It was declared in honor of the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett on December 12, 1851.
Poinsettias are not poisonous as many believe. But eating them could give you a stomach ache.
Selecting healthy Plants
Look for lots of dark green leaves and bright colored flowers, called Bracts. If either the leaves or the flowers are dry or brown around the edges, select another plant. Look for flowers that are completely open. Poinsettias are slow to open, but once they bloom, the flowers will remain full and attractive for several weeks.
If the weather is cold, make sure to wrap up the plant well for the trip from the store to the car. Even short exposure to cold and wind can damage your new Poinsettia plant before it is even home.
Poinsettia are propagated by seeds. However, Poinsettia seeds are difficult to find. Almost all plants forced to bloom and sold near Christmas time.
Poinsettia Care and Maintenance
Poinsettias are easy to keep. They will retain their blooms long after you have put away the Christmas decorations. If you are lucky, they will last until Valentines Day. After bringing them home, keep them in a sunny room.. Ideal temperature range is 60 - 70 degrees. They do not like drafts, And, they do not like being placed near high heat like a furnace vent or fireplace.
Water thoroughly, then let the soil dry between watering. Poinsettias are forgiving. If they begin to dry out, water them and they bounce right back. If the leaves turn lighter green, give more sunshine and......they bounce right back.
During the summer, you can move your plant outdoors to a sunny location. Plant it directly into your garden or into a container. Give it a good trimming, into a nice rounded shape. Apply general purpose fertilizer every two to three weeks.
Bring the plant indoors before the first frost. Poinsettias can not withstand frost. Check carefully to be sure you did not bring in any "critters" in with your plant.
Did you know? Poinsettias can grow up to 10 feet. But, to grow them this big you will need a few years in a tropical climate that does not experience frosts.
Forcing Poinsettias to bloom is a difficult task. Many have tried, but few succeed. But, if you have kept them around and healthy all year, you've just gotta give it a try.
The concept is simple enough. Any time from late September to October first, you need to put the plant in total darkness for 12-14 hours a day. Here is where it's tricky. Any small light can upset the process. During the day, it should get six hours or more of sunlight. Continue this process daily until early November, then bring it out into the room. Now with a little luck (some will say a lot of luck) and your personal green thumb, it will be in full bloom during the Christmas holiday.
Tip: A black plastic bag works well. Place the plant in the bag and use a twist tie. Each morning, remove the twist tie and carefully lower the bag to the floor.