The poinsettia is an iconic Christmas plant with striking red leaves but did you know that there are pink, white and yellow varieties too? The flowers of the traditional Poinsettia are small, yellow buds found in the centre of each cluster of leaves, the sign of a healthy plant is that the flowers will look fresh and still be in bud.
Caring for your Poinsettia
Poinsettias are particularly sensitive and can begin to lose their leaves quickly if exposed to the warm or cold drafts for too long, so keep them away from cold windows, fans or radiators.
Water your Poinsettia whenever the surface soil feels dry being careful not to over or under-watered it. Putting a bowl or plate underneath the pot to keep the soil moist is ideal, making sure it doesn't sit in water.
Be sure to keep the plant away from direct sunlight. They tend to like the morning sun and then to be kept in the shade as the day heats up.
If you want the leaves to turn red in time for Christmas then you have to start convincing the plant its winter early by leaving it in the dark for around 14 hours a night from the middle of September onwards. After 2 months bring it back into the light and water it well, keeping it warm. The leaves should then turn red in time for Christmas.
A Plant for Christmas
The bright red and green makeup of the Poinsettia means it an ideal Christmas gift that can last for months even years. The poinsettias link with Christmas tells the tale of a young Mexican girl who desperately wanted to leave a gift for the Virgin Mary on Christmas Eve but was so poor that this was not possible. On the way to church she met an angel who told her that any gift was acceptable, no matter how humble. Reassured by this, the little girl gathered a bouquet of weeds from a nearby roadside and placed the bouquet at the foot of the altar. Out of nowhere, the weeds blossomed into brilliant bloom and filled the room with a glorious red hue because she had given the most incredible gift of all, genuine love.