Indoor plants

Christmas stars

The origins of the poinsettias

The poinsettias were seen by European eyes for the first time back in 1520 by the men of commander Hernan Cortes, sent to Central America by Velasquez. The Spaniards noticed them when they conquered the city of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital. They noticed that the flowers and fruits of the Christmas star were destined for Montezuma, their emperor. In 1825, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Robert Poinsett, began growing them in the garden of his home in Carolina. In her honor the botanists gave her the name of Euphorbia Pulcherrima, which took the “vulgar” name of Poinsettia, in honor of the ambassador. For the Aztecs these plants represented the symbol of purity. The fact that in the West they are compared to Christmas, it is due to an old Mexican legend that tells of a very poor child who, having nothing to give to Jesus, collected leaves and twigs on Christmas Eve, adorning them with the leaves of these plants. Since then, the Poinsettia has been called the “Christmas Star”.

Meaning and curiosity

In Mexico, poinsettias are a good omen and owe their name to monks. The moment in which these plants are at their maximum splendor is precisely the Christmas period: hooking on the old legend, of which we have already spoken, they began to call them “Christmas Stars”. But these beautiful plants are also beneficial: it seems that, through their leaves, they are able to purify the environment that surrounds them from the chemical vapors of substances harmful to our body. It should be known that poinsettias, like many species of Euphorbiacee, once engraved secrete a whitish irritating liquid. If you come into contact with this liquid, it will be good that you do not touch your mouth or eyes, otherwise you would encounter annoying itching and irritation.

Poinsettias: let’s make them last

First you have to be very careful about watering. Poinsettias do not want a lot of water, in fact after spraying them, you have to wait until the soil is perfectly dry to wet them again. During the flowering phase, that is when they expose the beautiful flower with its characteristic red color, but there are also white ones, they do not require particular fertilization. In the period of vegetation, when they only have green leaves, it will be good to fertilize them with fertilizers based on potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. At the beginning of spring it will be good to take them outdoors, obviously if the climatic situation allows it, do not forget that they are plants that want sufficiently warm climates. In case they start to lose their leaves, it means that they are too hot, low humidity and probably suffer from a lack of light. Place them better, water them a little more and you will see them reborn.

Poinsettias: Renew and reproduce them

To best renew the poinsettias, first of all a vigorous pruning is needed. This, in fact, is the basis of the good regrowth of the plant. Poinsettias are plants that can be easily reproduced through cuttings. When you carry out the pruning, which will have to be done by cutting the stems at a height of about 15 centimeters from the soil, you will keep some of them aside. The twigs of the recovered Poinsettias, you will place them in a rather sandy soil and you will manage them as normal cuttings. Once the pruning is done, the poinsettias should be left to rest for at least a week, also interrupting the watering. Just check that the roots are always moist. At this point the seedlings must be planted in a slightly cooler environment. After 30 or 40 days, the first buds will begin to appear, and within a month they will have all the leaves back. Thus the miracle of the Poinsettias will begin again.

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