Poinsettia – Not my favorite holiday plant, but they do get a bum rap.

 Having worked at flower shop for many years in Toronto, I’ve had my fill of poinsettias. 
(Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Having said that, even though they’re not my favourite plant, (I’m more keen on other varieties in the euphorbia family), they do get a bum rap every holiday season.

Why the bad reputation?

Because contrary to popular opinion, Poinsettias can be irritating, but they’re not fatal.

Your pets & children might get a rash or an upset tummy if they eat a leaf, but it won’t kill them. That’s a fact. But I still don’t suggest eating them in any case!

I have other reasons for not liking them.  First of all they’re susceptible to white fly which is practically impossible to eradicate. The little buggers spread to other plants too, especially hibiscus, but that’s another story for another post.

They also wilt at the drop of a hat. A cold draft will knock them unconscious, so don’t place them near a front door or heat vent, even if they look good on your hall table. Put some greens and branches in a vase instead.

Also, they’re rarely watered properly – People kill with kindness. Waterlogged soil lacks sufficient air, which drowns roots. These plants, when exposed to high light and low humidity, require more frequent watering, but never water if the soil feels wet. Too much water will cause leaves to curl and fall off.

So in my humble opinion, the poor things never look as good as they do in the flower shop… Obviously I won’t be popular with any florists/growers out there, but that’s okay.

So, even though I don’t particularly like poinsettias, one does have to defend something one’s not exactly thrilled about when truth has been turned into a false myth.

Still keen on a poinsettia? Go for it! I wish you success!

However I’d suggest choosing an alternative plant for the holidays … azaleas and cyclamens are gorgeous this time of year. Succulents are perfect for any occasion, especially if you’re going away. They like to be neglected any time of year!

And, doesn’t it just feel good to go against the grain sometimes?

Happy Holidays!

About Wall Flower Studiohttps://wallflowerstudiogarden.comGardener, artist, blogger, earthling. #AmWriting

5 thoughts on “Poinsettia – Not my favorite holiday plant, but they do get a bum rap.

  1. the place I work decorates with poinsettias at Christmas and when their displayed in a mass they look stunning. Then, just before we break for the holidays, they let staff take home a plant. I didn’t do this last year and when I returned to work in January there was one sad fellow in the staff lunchroom. I brought her to my desk and tended to her all winter. She dropped leaves until she looked like an umbrella. Then sometime in april she started to revive and ever since has been happy as a cat in a sunny window. Her leaves aren’t red though. Maybe not enough light?

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    • Hi Susanne, I totally agree! En masse they do look terrific and very festive! I’m glad to hear you nurtured it back, too. Well done!
      Unfortunately, the leaves will only come back green at this point.
      To get the red leaves, in the fall, they must be placed in absolute darkness for 14 hours a day, backtracking from Christmas 8 or so weeks. (Even a bit of light leaking in will spoil the process. I know someone who did this in their bedroom closet and taped around the door, making sure no light got in..)
      Temps are important too and should be no warmer than 62 degrees, but no colder than 55… That’s where a greenhouse comes in handy! Climate/temps can be controlled easily for many plants.
      If you get that far, then success is imminent! You’ll see the bracts/flowers start to develop, along with the coloured leaves.
      So, a bit of a process, but not impossible! I hope that helps!
      Merry Christmas, and all the best to you for 2018

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  2. I remember seeing a hedge of poinsettias in California. I was amazed and during the time I was there it bloomed each year. I have often had them in our home over Christmas and they seem to have done quite well but after Christmas they so into the compost bin.

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    • Anne, I would love to see them in their natural environment. Lucky you! I bet a hedge of poinsettias looks incredible. They are native to Mexico, so they’d thrive in California for sure.
      And same here… the few times I’ve had one here at home, they’ve ended up in the compost bin, too.
      You make a good point, too. Because they’re ‘difficult’ to bring back into bloom and don’t last overlong, I do see them as somewhat disposable, and I hate to think of any plant like that. Probably another reason for me not to want them in the first place.

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