Poinsettia, Houseplant of the month of November

A heavenly moment: it’s horrible outside but indoors you can cuddle up with your Poinsettia, the Houseplant of the month of November. With its theatrical leaves it will pull you out of your lazy autumn mood.


Colour! Colour! Colour!

The most striking thing about the Poinsettia is of course its coloured bracts. These are bright red, salmon pink or creamy white and surround the tiny, yellow flower buds. A great plant to bring home at the end of the year, it’s bound to make you happy.


With thanks to Joel Poinsett

The Poinsettia is named after the American Ambassador of Mexico, Joel Poinsett, who introduced this plant into the United States at the beginning of the 19th Century. In the wild parts of Mexico and Central America, the Poinsettia can grow into shrubs of up to four metres high. The plant flowers outdoors from November to February and in the summer the shrub is bare.


Caring for the Poinsettia

This is how you make a Poinsettia happy: put it in a light position but not in the full sun. Regular water will be appreciated, especially when the Poinsettia is flowering. As an extra treat, you can give it some plant food every two weeks. If a branch breaks off the plant and you get some of the milky plant sap on your hands, wash your hands.


Fun facts:

  • The generic name officially given to the Poinsettia: ‘pulcherrima’, is Latin for ‘the most beautiful’. The German plant expert, Willdenow, gave this plant its botanical name because of its beautiful colour.
  • Don’t place the plant in a draughty position or a really warm place, such as near an open fire or a radiator.
  • Did you know that you feel better with plants around you? They create fresh air and have a calming effect. And we haven’t even spoken about their appearance.
  • The Poinsettia was called the “Cuitla-xochitl” by the Aztecs. In 1804, the naturalist, Alexander von Humbolt, brought the plant for the first time to Europe.
  • Are the leaves on your Poinsettia turning yellow and falling off? Then place your plant in a cooler and lighter position and increase the humidity. It will then recover.
  • In the USA, the anniversary of Joel Poinsett’s death, on the 12th of December, has been declared as Poinsettia Day. Family, friends, neighbours and colleagues give each other Poinsettias as gifts on that day.
  • Have you bought a Poinsettia? Wrap it up warm for the journey home because it can’t stand the cold.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk

Published on: 10 November 2015