Things You May Not Know About Poinsettias

Things You May Not Know About Poinsettias

Things You May Not Know About Poinsettias

Christmas is right around the corner, which means the fabulous Poinsettia plants are about to take center stage like they do each December. However, there are quite a few facts about this iconic holiday plant that may surprise you. 

Let’s take a look at some of the interesting and little-known facts about Poinsettia plants. 

They Came from Mexico

To begin, let’s talk about the origin of the Poinsettia plant and how it became so beloved in the United States. 

The plant actually originates from Mexico. It was first introduced to the U.S. by Joel Roberts Poinsett in the early 1800s, a botanist and physician, who was actually the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. 

However, their history dates long before then. They have been used in religious ceremonies for centuries by civilizations like the Aztecs. 

The Flowers Aren’t What You Assume

If you always thought that the big red leaves are the petals of the Poinsettia flower, that’s not correct. Those vibrant leaves are actually called bracts, and the actual flower is the small yellow cluster in the center of the plant called cyathia. 

They Are Not Poisonous

One of the common myths about Poinsettias is that they are poisonous. This is not true, though it’s important to note that the plant is not intended for human or animal consumption.

When someone accidentally ingests the plant, the worst symptom they could face is an upset stomach, which is why they’ve been deemed safe by the American Medical Association.

Additionally, some people may notice skin irritation when they come into contact with the sticky white sap that the Poinsettias produce. So, it’s best to keep this plant away from children and pets to avoid any adverse outcomes.

They Can Grow Quite Tall

If you’re used to the houseplant-like Poinsettias that we adorn our homes with during the holidays, you’ll be surprised to learn that the native plant can actually grow up to 12 feet tall in the wild. 

In fact, Poinsettias are actually a small tropical tree in their native Mexico. The difference between those wild Poinsettias and the ones we find at the supermarket is that today’s Poinsettias have been bred to bloom for a longer season and grow shorter than the native plant. 

They Have Their Own Holiday

Most of the time we find Poinsettias synonymous with the holiday season at the end of each year, though they actually have their own holiday. National Poinsettia Day is celebrated on December 12, which has been recognized as a holiday since Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett passed away on the same day in 1851–so for over 150 years. 

They Can Bloom Again

Many people assume that once the bright leaves have fallen off the plant and withered away, it’s time to retire it and buy a new one again next holiday season. 

However, it is possible to take care of the Poinsettia in such a way that it lasts for years. There is a certain list of steps you’ll need to take in order to help them grow back and bloom again in time for the next year’s holiday season. With those steps taken, you’ll be able to keep spreading the holiday cheer with your Poinsettia year after year. 

Written by Bailey Schramm in partnership with fencing and rental suppliers, Viking Fence.