Table of contents:
Video: Poinsettia: Complete Decryption Of The Ultimate Christmas Flower
Christmas without poinsettia? The flower symbol of the end of the year celebrations with red leaves is simply essential for a successful Christmas decoration. What's more, for many of us, it's impossible to do without during this time of year! But why is the star December plant so popular during the winter season? What does it symbolize? What are its origins and main characteristics? Are there any particularities in terms of aging and maintenance as well as how to make it bloom again? Plus some good ideas to wake up the festive decor with its red leaves!
History and origins of the poinsettia
Native to countries across the Atlantic, Euphorbia pulcherrima (the scientific name for the Christmas star), is an integral part of festive decor in the United States and Mexico. However, French residences are not spared its undeniable beauty. What is more, the poinsettia has already gradually started to invade garden center stalls, while inviting itself into our living rooms. But why exactly is it called a Christmas star?
Why exactly a Christmas star?
Poinsettia is a houseplant that, as you know, blooms during the holiday season, earning it the name “Christmas Star”. Its splendid colors vary between red, pink, orange, cream and yellow and make a superb table decoration for December 25th. Composed of bracts, which together form a magnificent star, this flower is the subject of several legends, one of which tells that the winter flower was made by a boy who wished to bring an offering to the Son of God on the eve of Christmas. When the child placed the flower near Jesus' manger, its leaves instantly turned bright red. Nowadays, the Christmas star symbolizes wishes for joy and success.
As for the first traces of the existence of the star flower of December, they date from the time of the Aztecs. Legend has it that one of the Aztec goddesses felt such deep sadness that her heart ended up bleeding and it was indeed the flower that collected the drops of blood. Subsequently, the flower took pride of place in the culture of the Aztecs. Moreover, the latter used the bracts of the plant to color their clothes. As for the sap, generally considered toxic, it has been used for medical purposes.
Later, the Christmas flower is invited into the world of Christians. In Mexico, the plant is called "the flower of the holy night", obviously referring to the fact that it only flowers during the holiday season. Thanks to Joel Poinsett, the flower was brought from the country to the United States at the beginning of the nineteenth century, where it was later named in his honor. After Mr. Poinsett's death, the United States Congress even established a national day dedicated to giving Americans the opportunity to afford Christmas stars. A pleasant custom, which has also become widely democratized among us recently. Each year, approximately 65 million poinsettias are sold in the United States.
Despite its origins dating back to the Aztec times, the winter flower began to gain popularity in the last century, when a German immigrated to the United States began launching the poinsettia in California. He had the brilliant idea of handing out freshly cut bracts in shops on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. As a result, several growers have embarked on this initiative by developing new cultivars. Today, there are many cultivars that offer a rich palette of nuances (scarlet red, garnet, pale and bright pink, snow white, lilac and yellow). There are also mottled, speckled and wavy bracts.
Planting, watering and caring for the Christmas star
Contrary to what you might think, caring for a Christmas star isn't very complicated. And although we call it the December flower, poinsettia cultivation begins as early as September so that flowering is ready just in time for the holiday season. To take good care of it, it's best to keep your shrub indoors. So place it in a good quality potting soil to promote flowering and add a few clay balls to facilitate drainage. If, moreover, the pot in which the plant goes with is well drilled at the bottom, this is not necessary. As for those of you living in a fairly warm and humid region, there is nothing preventing you from planting your plant outside.
On the watering side, the Christmas flower should be watered generously with lukewarm water once the soil has become dry. Cold water should be avoided. It is best to place your pot near the window, but without direct sunlight. Maintain humidity by spraying the leaves often enough. As for flowers, they should be avoided. After flowering, which normally lasts from late fall until early next year, please reduce watering. You can take them back at the end of the summer. Ditto for the addition of liquid fertilizer. Another thing to consider after the flowering period is to cut back its stems 5-10 cm from the base of the plant. Thus, you will stimulate new shoots and new flowering.
Prevent and eliminate diseases associated with poinsettia
Discolored poinsettia leaves can be a sign of excess water or poor drainage. We remind you to water only when the soil is dry! If, by the cutter, they turn yellow and fade, it means that the air in the room is too dry. It is therefore better to create a bed of clay balls, pebbles or gravel at the bottom of your pot, generally promoting humidity.
Tips and tricks to make poinsettia bloom again
To make your Christmas star bloom again, follow our starting tips! Said “short days”, this plant requires special care, but simple, so that its bracts are colored just in time for the holidays. This involves putting the pot in a dark place overnight or for 20 days from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next morning. You can place it in a cupboard or cover it with a fairly large cardboard box. During the day, find a bright spot for it and your little poinsettia to bloom again before the end of 2019. We promise!
The poinsettia in the Christmas decoration
Every year, during the end of year celebrations, the poinsettia makes a big comeback in homes. What's more, the December flower takes on a very special shine when integrated into the Christmas decor. Informed DIY enthusiasts, for their part, do not hesitate to take advantage of the winter star plant to create their own decorative elements! If you too are going to follow their example, please always keep in mind that Euphorbia pulcherrima ("the most beautiful") needs light exposure. So place it near the window behind a curtain so that it can benefit from good light and protect it from drafts. Apart from a fairly bright location, the Christmas star also needs warmth and humidity. Be careful, however, of heaters which could dehydrate the plant.