In their natural state, poinsettias grow in South America, south of the Equator, which is one of the reasons why this lovely flower crops up at Christmas. Down there, it’s the middle of summer; up in the northern hemisphere it’s a relief to see anything growing, let alone a beautiful poinsettia.
The first poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) were introduced to the USA by Joel Roberts Poinsett in 1828, and it’s from him that they got their name. In the United States, December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.
The most common poinsettias are a luxurious, velvet red, but they come in a variety of shades, solid colors and variegated. Pure cream poinsettias are often sold covered with glitter to make them even more festive, but in their natural state, set against their pink and red cousins, their bright and striking leaves are attractive enough.
In traditional cultures, poinsettia flowers were used to make red dye and were also used in medicine. Their association with Christmas began in Mexico in the 1500s, however. Legend has it that there once was a girl who could not provide a gift for Jesus’ birthday. An angel inspired her to gather weeds and place those in front of the altar instead. The weeds transformed miraculously into red poinsettia blossoms.
North of the Equator, poinsettias are usually best kept indoors or in a green house. With care, and warm climates, they can be cultivated outdoors. Poinsettias are subtropical plants, so such places are rare in the USA. But with care and understanding, poinsettias can be coaxed to last beyond the holiday season, taking their blessing into January and beyond.
Poinsettias make a perfect addition to your holiday decorations. We at daFlores can deliver them to your doorstep. Just pick out the flowers you want, and we will take care of the rest. daFlores.com offers same-day International Flower Delivery.