The Flower Expert – Christmas Poinsettia

by Su Whale on December 17, 2009

Susan Whale
Well, my very first blog for Interflora, and what a great time of year to start, with Christmas just around the corner and the shops positively bursting with all things festive…..

So, let me introduce myself, I’m a full time, hands-on florist – one of Interflora’s expert florists no less – and I’ve been working at a busy florist shop in Birmingham for the last sixteen years.

I hope to share with you some of the things that happen in the day to day life of a florist, and believe me, no day is the same, as well as passing on flower advice, plant care tips and just about anything else that occurs.

So, back to Christmas, and if there is one plant which symbolises this time of year more than any other it must surely be the Poinsettia (or Points as they call them in market). They can be temperamental at times, but with a little care information, you can get them to happily ‘bloom’ all through Christmas.

Christmas Kisses Poinsettia - £19.99

One way to understand your plants better is to find out where they come from, and when you know that Poinsettia’s are from Mexico and grow wild in tropical forests, then you start to get an idea about what sort of conditions they prefer.

They like it nice and warm, and they don’t appreciate chilly winds or cold draughts – it’s this which makes them collapse – and after all, wouldn’t you complain if you were nice and cosy and then suddenly someone took you outside into minus temperatures?

Yuletide Basket - £24.99

So, don’t buy your Poinsettia’s from market stalls and draughty supermarket doorways, just head to you local Interflora florists, and when you get your plant home, stand it somewhere bright, warm and away from draughts.

Water when the soil feels dry, but don’t let it sit in water, if you have a Poinsettia in a crock pot, check every now and then to make sure there’s no water standing in the bottom. And don’t worry about the white sap; it’s not poisonous, although some people can have an allergic reaction to it.

By the way, did you know that the actual flowers of the Poinsettia are the little insignificant yellow beads in the centre, and those wonderful red ‘flowers’ are in fact bracts, not flowers at all? And that they were ‘discovered’, although the Aztecs knew they were there all the time of course, in 1828 by a man called Joel Poinsett who was the first US minister to Mexico. And, this is rather lovely, in Guatemala; Poinsettia’s are called Noche Buena, which means ‘Christmas Eve’.

Christmas Kisses Poinsettia - £19.99
If you fancy the challenge of making your Poinsettia ‘flower’ for next year – well, it’s complicated – it involves precision pruning, keeping them in darkness and then light for set hours at a time, and you have to keep on top of it all year. So unless you have far too much time on your hands, or you’re Alan Titchmarsh, when your Poinsettia has finally given all it can, bid it a fond farewell, consign it to the compost heap and look forward to buying a fresh one next Christmas from your expert florist – where else?

Until next time, Happy Christmas!

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Su Whale

Post category: Care Tips, Christmas, Expert Florist Blogs, Interflora Flowers, Interflora Gifts, Knowledge, Occasions  

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard fealey 08 Jun 2010 at 12:39 am

First time poster would like advice I got a ponsetta from tesco’s before Christmas it has now started growing numerous new shoots and leaves It still has it’s petals and was wondering what the next step is for it ????

Kate 09 Jun 2010 at 9:58 am

Hi Richard,

I have spoken to one of our many experts here at Interflora and I have this information for you:

Poinsettias can be temperamental and to get them to turn red is a specialised skill!

From the end of September they have to be in controlled environment of equal light and dark.

I would suggest cover with a black polythene bag from early evening and remove next morning so that the Poinsettia is kept in total darkness for 14 hours.

Continue with this process daily for 8 weeks, then treat normally.
The plant sounds healthy if it has new shoots, I would continue watering and feed regularly during the next few months.

Let me know if you need anything else!

Thanks for your comment,


jeremyaves 19 Oct 2011 at 1:08 am

Hi there, you explained that Poinsettia’s originate from Mexico. Do Interflora import them from South America are do you bring them in form Europe.
Thanks in advance.

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