So many ask me about this red plant that now is the largest selling plant by the millions every year. Native to Mexico and Central America, poinsettias, grow wild up to nearly 10 feet blooming in the winter. The red ‘flowers’ botanically, are really not flowers at all, yet are just red leaves surrounding the yellow centers-the real flower of the plant. The Aztecs called them Cuetlaxochitle which translates to “flower of leather petals”. Their legend says the plant came from their captives spilled blood. Grown for decoration and medicine; the plants latex sap was used for fevers and cloth dye made from the leaves.
Montezuma is said to have adored them and surrounded himself with glorious poinsettia gardens; revering but never touching them. He thought them to be divine gifts from the Gods, as metaphors of beautiful feelings. How profound; as we are just learning the power of fresh flowers in our daily lives; amazing the ancient ones are so far behind us,yet also so far ahead of us.
They also carry the Mexican legend of a miraculous bouquet of weeds blossoming into a poinsettia at the hand of a poor child approaching the altar of Jesus at Christmas; they were since known as “Flower of the Holy Night” la flor de la noche buena. With the history, the legend, the color, and the National date; it is no wonder they became the gift of our modern day.
Poinsettias Coming To America
In 1851 Congress officially established December 12 as National Poinsettia Day to honor the passing of Mr. Joel Poinsett; yes there really was a Mr. Poinsett born in Charleston, SC in 1779. Oddly, December 12th is also the day of the celebrated plant in Mexico. Among his many accomplishments were congressman, the 15th Secretary of War, and US Minister to Mexico; but it seemed gardening was his passion and now surprisingly, that which he is known for today . While in Mexico, visiting a local church on an 1825 Christmas Day, Mr. Poinsett visited a local church nativity scene adorned with them. Enamored, he brought back a few seedlings for his hothouses on his SC plantation and so it began.
The Gift and Care
As a holiday symbol, it is the perfect gift to anyone or business. A good plant will last well into February, and continue on for another season with a little, proper care. A tall, show plant is perfect as a business gift or home décor piece. While a bowl or basket of miniature plants suits a table or counter perfectly. While in bloom, they do not require direct sun, and only ask for a weekly watering. They are of a tropical mind so a misting is most welcome to their leaves; not required to live; but will be happier
The Fears According to Willow
Check Willows blog post where she separates the myths & danger rumors to the facts. Poinsettia fears are just not true and she assures you with her all knowing wisdom and research as only she can. Smile
Happy Happy and Merry Merry