During the Christmas holiday season, it seems like everywhere you look you will find luscious red Poinsettias on display. This beautiful plant has become a well-recognized symbol of Christmas—and rightly so. Its deep red color and simple yet elegant nature embodies the season in an aesthetic way.
If you are looking to include the Poinsettia in your Christmas tradition, or if they have long since become a staple when you ring in the holidays, we will be sharing some key information on the plant that will maximize your Poinsettia’s longevity that will be detailed in the next Plantman blog.
But first, let’s take a look at the incredible history of the Poinsettia…
The Poinsettia as a practicality
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, this lovely plant was stumbled on by the Aztecs long before Christianity and the Christmas season came into fruition. The Aztecs found the plant useful for everyday purposes (as they did many things in nature). They found the Poinsettia’s purple dye sufficient for cosmetic purposes and even extracted the plant’s milky white sap to treat fevers.
And along comes Joel…
If it weren’t for one Joel Roberts Poinsett, the plant would have never gone farther than the Aztec tribes. The US Ambassador of Mexico became fascinated by the Poinsettia plant while visiting Mexico in 1828. As a lover of all things green (and red, apparently), he shipped some of the plants home and began distributing them to friends and botanical gardens. The receivers of the beautiful Poinsettia were enthralled with both its aesthetic appeal and its incredible power—the plant was known to find its way through greenhouse floors! The ‘Poinsettia’ name became the plant’s permanent monogram in recognition of Poinsett’s introduction of the plant to our country.
Because the plant was most commonly found blooming naturally for only a short period in Mexico during the Christmas season, the term ‘Christmas Poinsettia’ was born. Since its introduction into American culture in the early 1800’s, the Poinsettia has seen rapid growth around the country and has become one of the most prominent floricultural plants in America. The Poinsettia even has a holiday of its own—December 12th is known as National Poinsettia Day in memory of Poinsett’s death and as a celebration of his discovery.
The Poinsettia can exhibit white, red or pink blossoms, although red is the most common and celebrated. The Poinsettia has not only become one of the most popular plants sold and delivered during the Christmas season, but is also the number one potted plant in the United States! In 2000 alone, over 65 million of these beautiful blooms were sold nationwide.
Be sure to check back in on the Plantman blog soon—next, we will be giving you some tips, tricks and information on everything you need to know to keep your Poinsettias blooming for years to come.