Christmas just would not be Christmas without the Poinsettia plonked in the middle of the Christmas table but what is the Poinsettias origin?
Poinsettia, or if you prefer the Latin label is the Euphorbia pulcherrima and until recent years it was only available in red.
Now after some clever breeding by growers there are a multitude of choices from white through to Lilac.
The colour from the Poinsettia is not a flower but the top leaves of the plant called bracts.
I have always tended to think of Poinsettias as dreary, especially as they last so long, and to be reminded of the excesses of Christmas at the beginning of March is depressing.
Maintenance is fairly simple - keep your Poinsettia in bright conditions but out of direct sunlight and draughts and temperatures above 13°C (55°F).
Water, thoroughly, once the surface of the compost begins to dry out. A humid atmosphere will prolong bract life but over watering will quickly damage plants and consign them to the compost heap as worm food.
Growers though are about to make life a little more interesting with the introduction of E. pulcherrima cultivars: Silver Star ‘Fisflirt Silver’ (pictured), Lemon Snow ‘Fislemon’ with pale yellow bracts, bi coloured Strawberries and Cream ‘Eckaloha’ or sumptuous deep plum Cortez Burgundy ‘Kamp Burgundy’.
Here are some useful resource pages about the history and production of Poinsettias.Poinsettia History and Lore - The Poinsettia Pages