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What Is Poinsettia?

1. Overview Poinsettia, a plant belonging to the Euphorbia family and the genus Euphorbia, is also known as the Christmas flower. It is a red-colored flower used for decoration during Christmas. Poinsettias originated from a variegated leaf plant in the Taxco region of Mexico. Poinsettias typically grow to a height of 60 centimeters to 3 […]

1. Overview

Poinsettia, a plant belonging to the Euphorbia family and the genus Euphorbia, is also known as the Christmas flower. It is a red-colored flower used for decoration during Christmas.

Poinsettias originated from a variegated leaf plant in the Taxco region of Mexico.

Poinsettias typically grow to a height of 60 centimeters to 3 meters, with deep green leaves measuring approximately 7 to 16 centimeters in length. The topmost leaves are either bright red, red, or white, often mistaken for flowers, while the actual flowers are found in the center of the leaf cluster.

The flowering period of poinsettias begins in December and lasts until February of the following year, coinciding with the festive atmosphere of Christmas and New Year.

Poinsettias have medicinal properties, such as promoting blood circulation, resolving phlegm, and reducing swelling.

2. Origin

Poinsettias originated in the Taxco region of Mexico and were used by the local Aztec people, long before being introduced to Europe, for pigment and medicinal purposes. They are also grown in open fields in the Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan provinces of China, with plants reaching heights of up to 2 meters.

3. Ecological Habits

Poinsettia

Temperature Preference

Poinsettias thrive in temperatures ranging from 18 to 25°C, with a range of 18 to 24°C from April to September and 13 to 16°C from September to the following April. The winter temperature should not drop below 10°C, as it can cause bracts to turn blue, lower leaves to yellow and fall off, leading to a phenomenon known as “leggy” growth. When the temperature rises in spring, new shoots can continue to emerge from the stems.

Moisture Preference

Poinsettias are sensitive to water conditions. During the growth period, sufficient water supply leads to rapid growth of stems and leaves, sometimes resulting in elongation of internodes and narrow leaf blades. On the other hand, insufficient or inconsistent watering can cause leaf yellowing and shedding. Therefore, proper control of moisture directly affects the growth and development of poinsettias.

Sunlight Preference

Poinsettias are short-day plants. They require sufficient sunlight during the vegetative growth period to promote vigorous growth of stems and leaves. To induce bract coloration, the daily exposure to light should be controlled within 12 hours, stimulating flower bud differentiation.

For example, with 9 hours of light per day, the bracts can turn red after 5 weeks. Poinsettias prefer loose, fertile, and well-drained sandy soil. A recommended potting soil mix consists of loam, composted leaf mold, and sand.

4. Cultivation Techniques

Poinsettias prefer loose and well-drained soil. A common soil mixture is composed of 3 parts garden soil, 3 parts humus soil, 3 parts leaf mold, and a small amount of composted cake fertilizer mixed with a small amount of furnace slag.

5. Propagation Methods

Cutting

Poinsettias can be propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings, or even old root cuttings. Regardless of the method used, the cuttings should be taken in the early morning when they have sufficient moisture. When making the cuttings, ensure smooth cuts and remove any split epidermis or woody tissue to prevent water accumulation and rotting, which could hinder root formation.

Layering

Poinsettia

Layering propagation involves burying the lower branches of the plant into the soil near the ground level. Higher branches are wounded (or cut) and wrapped with moist materials like sphagnum moss. Once they have developed roots, the layered branches can be separated from the mother plant and planted as new individuals. High-pressure propagation methods are commonly used.

6. Aesthetic Value

Poinsettias bloom during the Christmas season, hence their nickname “Christmas red.” They are flowers suitable for any kind of blessings.

With their large, red leaves, poinsettias present a joyful appearance, as if they are extending their hands to congratulate people.

Poinsettias are the perfect flowers representing Christmas, but they can also be seen in some weddings, where the combination of red and white poinsettias symbolizes “my heart is burning” and can be used as a gesture of love.

Presenting poinsettias as a gift to someone will create a festive atmosphere and add warmth and liveliness to wedding banquets.

During the cold winter, placing a pot of vibrant red poinsettias at home feels like igniting a warm fire. Therefore, one of its flower meanings is to ignite a passionate flame within you.

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Peggie

Peggie

Founder of FlowersLib

Peggie was once a high school mathematics teacher, but she set aside her chalkboard and textbooks to follow her lifelong passion for flowers. After years of dedication and learning, she not only established a thriving flower shop but also founded this blog, “Flowers Library”. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about flowers, feel free to contact Peggie.

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