Before there were sunflower Christmas trees, people put poinsettias on their Christmas trees. I've never questioned why the famous red flowers were associated with Christmas time. It made sense mainly due to the color. I've seen poinsettias on Christmas wreaths, staircase rails, and as tabletop decor, and always thought they were an impeccable focal point or piece for the holiday season. Do you decorate with poinsettias? Well, here's why you do.
There's a Mexican legend that a young girl named Pepita didn't have a gift for Jesus when he was born. That Christmas Eve, Pepita decided to pick a flower on her way to church. According to the story, Pepita picked out a poinsettia flower for baby Jesus. Another story that traces back to the Christmas flower's history is the story of Joel Roberts Poinsett.
Christmas Poinsettia History
Poinsett was a U.S. Statesman that did a lot of traveling during the 1800s. After visiting Mexico during his time as a U.S. Minister, Poinsett came across the poinsettia plant. Poinsett is often credited as the person who introduced poinsettias to the United States. Since the 1820s, poinsettias have been popular houseplants. Although, it was many years later until they gained their prominence around Christmas time.
Becoming the Christmas Poinsettia
Back in the early 1900s, the Ecke Family began running the Ecke Ranch Company. Euphorbia pulcherrima, or poinsettias, became a staple plant on the Ecke Ranch. Paul Ecke Sr. took advantage of these plants surviving cold temperatures and ran with it. Of course, if there's going to be a Christmas flower it needs to be able to thrive in cooler weather! I have to say, Ecke might be a marketing genius. On par with Kris Jenner.
Paul Ecke even sent poinsettias to The Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson.
Debating the pronunciation of poinsettias is a great way to stir up some talk. Word of mouth is still a great marketing strategy, y'all! Since then, we've been decorating with poinsettias. I can't think of a better flower for the holiday season!
Varieties of poinsettias from Central America and Southern Mexico are popular during the Christmas season. Before purchasing, check the colored bracts in the middle of the flower. If they are closed, the poinsettia is fresh and healthy.
To keep your flowers alive and well, keep them out of direct sunlight and keep from overwatering. Excess water will wilt the flowers. A nice sunny window with indirect sunlight is the perfect combo.
Looking to keep your flower until next year? Prune your poinsettia around April then repot it in May and keep it in a cool and light place. Once November comes around force your plant into complete darkness for 12 hours a night to encourage blooming.