Poinsettia – America’s Holiday Plant
The poinsettia plant is a common sight during the holiday season, and for good reason! With its vibrant red and green leaves, it adds a festive touch to any holiday display. Over the past century, poinsettias have become the best-selling potted plant in North America. Due to their strong association with Christmas, approximately 70 million poinsettias are sold within a six-week period every year in the United States.
Wild poinsettias grow natively in a region ranging from Mexico to southern Guatemala, and were used by ancient Aztecs for dye and as a treatment for fevers. The plant’s common name is derived from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who is credited with bringing the plant to the United States in the 1820s. National Poinsettia Day is observed each year on December 12, the anniversary of Poinsett’s death.
Many of the world’s poinsettias are grown by Paul Ecke Ranch, based in Encinitas, California. The Ecke family helped make poinsettias synonymous with Christmas by providing the plants as background decorations for talk shows and magazines in the mid to late 20th century. And while wild poinsettias are rather scraggly, the company developed a grafting technique that created the more lush, bushy poinsettias that we know today. The company also helped produce new color variations, including white, pink, yellow, and marbled; and patented over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia in the US.
If you want an easy way to show off your holiday spirit, consider buying a poinsettia plant this season to add a cheery decoration to your home! They also make great gifts, and their available color variations allow them to fit in with many types of décor, whatever your style may be!