A Christmas Tale - The Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Publish Date: 21/11/2014 09:00Some say that Christmas would not be complete without the presence of the Poinsettia. So how did this festive brassica become such a symbol of the yuletide calendar? The poinsettia is native to Mexico where they are known as ‘La flor de la Nochebuena’ or ‘Flower of Christmas eve’. Apparently the ancient Aztecs prized the poinsettia as a symbol of purity and centuries later, Mexico’s early Christians adopted the plant as their prized Christmas Eve flower. The Mexican legend tells of a child who could not afford a gift to offer Christ on Christmas Eve, so he picked some weeds at the side of a road. The child was told that a humble gift, if given in love, would be acceptable in God's eyes. When brought into the church the weeds bloomed red and green flowers and the congregation felt that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle. The poinsettia was born. The plant is actually named after former US ambassador to Mexico Dr Joel R Poinsett, who was responsible for introducing the plant to the USA and from there on it has reached a global presence at Christmas. Not the easiest plant to care for, but these few careful pointers should ensure your Poinsettia looks good throughout the festive season.
- They require sunlight for at least 5 hours a day so make sure you have it placed in an area of good natural light.
- Temperature must be maintained at a constant level
- They must be situated where there are no draughts
- They are a sub-tropical plant so at night ensure the temperature does not drop below 10 degrees cent
- Keep the soil moist, but well drained