Indoor plants

Poinsettia plant

The legend of the poinsettia

A tropical plant that in the wild can reach up to four meters in height, the poinsettia is native to Mexico and its traditional name means Flower of the Holy Night. This name probably comes from one of the most popular of the many legends that see the poinsettia protagonist. The story tells of a very poor little girl who lives in a small town in Mexico and who on Christmas Eve prepares to enter the church with a heart full of sadness. Unlike the others, in fact, she has no money and could not buy a flower to place at the foot of the statue of the Baby Jesus. What will he think, the child wonders, when the guardian angel suddenly appears suggesting that she collect some wild herbs by the roadside.

Characteristics of the poinsettia

Its scientific name is Euphorbia Pulcherrima while it is known in North America with the term Poinsettia, from the name of the US Ambassador to Mexico who discovered it in 1825 and promoted its export and cultivation in the United States. The poinsettia is a photoperiodic plant, which means that it can flower optimally only after spending a rather long period in the dark. For this reason, its flowering takes place in the winter months by making flowers bloom which, beyond the most common belief, are not red but yellowish and more rarely pink. Little known is also the potentially harmful power of the latex secreted in the stem and leaves which can cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes if touched and which can cause the death of pets if ingested by mistake.

How to care for the poinsettia plant

And while most homes will soon have a poinsettia to brighten up the Christmas season, these plants generally can’t survive for long. It may therefore be useful to know its main characteristics and above all the precautions that should be taken to allow the plant to last for many months. Poinsettias do not need a lot of water and it is advisable to avoid getting their leaves wet. In particular, it is necessary to wait until the earth contained in the pot is completely dry before watering them again. Furthermore, these plants need light but it is good to avoid exposing them to direct light: in winter they will be placed indoors in a well-lit room but not near the window while in summer they can be placed outdoors in a shady area.

Poinsettia plant: The prices of the plant

Poinsettias are plants very often chosen as a gift to take to the homes of friends and relatives, certainly because they are an emblem of good wishes, they are perfect for decorating any context with the colors of Christmas but also particularly cheap. In November and December 2013, the price of a small poinsettia (10-13 cm high) was around 1.50 euros. Plants with more flowers and with an average height of more than 14 cm have prices that fluctuate between 2.50 euros and 4 euros up to a maximum price of 9-11 euros. More expensive are obviously poinsettias bought in floral arrangements or Christmas decorations such as wreaths, candle holders and centerpieces.

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