When we realized we were a day late for National Poinsettia Day, we decided what better way to commemorate this beautiful plant than to share its story!
The Poinsettia, a native to Central America, flourished in Southern Mexico where the Aztecs used the plant for decorative and practical purposes. They extracted the dye from the plant’s bracts and used it in textiles and cosmetics. They also made the milky white sap, known as latex, into a preparation to treat fevers.
It was not until the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), that the Poinsettia came to America. As a lover of botany, Poinsett was immediately drawn to the brilliant red plant and sent some home to South Carolina where he propagated them in 1828. He sent them to friends who also began to grow them, and so on and so on. Among Poinsett’s friends who received these plants was Robert Buist who is believed to be the first person to have sold the plant under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima. It is also believed that the plant acquired the name Poinsettia (to recognize the man who brought it to the United States) in 1836.
Poinsett was honored by Congress as they declared December 12th to be National Poinsettia Day to commemorate his death in 1851. This day was meant not only to honor Poinsett, but to encourage people to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant.
In Mexican culture, the Poinsettia has a very powerful meaning. As legend goes, a poor little girl had no gift to offer to Jesus on Christmas Eve. She was comforted by an angel who told her that any gift, given with love, is enough for Jesus. So she gathered weeds from the roadside and placed them at the altar. Then, before her eyes, the weeds burst into the crimson blossoms of a Poinsettia. It was a Christmas Miracle!
So here’s to the Poinsettia– bringing the Christmas spirit to all who see them!
Orchids are beautiful flowering plants that bloom for fairly long periods of time. They come in a vast variety of shapes and sizes. And with a little love and care, they can last for years! Three common types of Orchids are Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, and Cattleya.
Dendrobium Orchids are among the most common form of the plant and must be considered for 2nd, if not 1st, choice. They are very common and readily available in most areas. They are very easy to care for and are available in a wide variety of colors.
Phalaenopsis Orchids’ timeless elegance reflects the finest of taste when given as a gift. While no two are alike, it is truly a statement of opulence when displayed. They are stunningly beautiful and can be located in most areas. They do not release any fragrance and bloom for 3 to 6 months.
Cattleya Orchids are very exotic in nature and, therefore, are more difficult to locate. Some produce a pleasing hint of fragrance similar to that of a Hyacinth.
Bougainvilleas are plants that thrive in tropical areas/temperatures with high heat and little rainfall. They are full sun plants meaning they need AT LEAST five hours of direct sunlight a day. In winter, Bougainvillea CAN survive only if brought indoors.
The most important part of Bougainvillea care is the use of a fertilizer specifically made for the Bougainvillea (such as “Bougainvillea & Flowering Vine Food” by Ferti-lome), as it’s root system is very delicate. Feed the plant about every two weeks until blooming begins, then, once a month after that.
A good rule of thumb for the Bougainvillea is to let the soil be visually dry before watering. But once it is time to water, make sure the whole root system is included. Wilting flowers are another warning that your plant needs watering. Take care not to allow the plant to get too dry, while making sure it does not sit in water for too long– balance is the key. If planted, plant on higher ground and if in a pot, make sure to keep all holes used for drainage clear.
If you want to prune your plant, it is best to do it after it is finished blooming– as Bougainvilleas bloom in cycles.