What better way to say "Happy Holidays" than by sending a vibrant Christmas poinsettia plant to loved ones! Their lush, thick red and green leaves have long made poinsettias the most popular Christmas flowers. Whether you gather the family around a poinsettia centerpiece for a holiday dinner or use several plants to frame the stockings on your mantle, these star-shaped bursts of velvety red are sure to put you in the Christmas mood!
Why Are Poinsettias Used at Christmas?
While poinsettias were cultivated as gifts and for medicinal reasons by the Aztecs, they first became associated with modern Christmas traditions when they were used by Mexican friars in the 1600s. The reason poinsettias are used at Christmas traces back to a Mexican legend about a young peasant girl who wanted to present a gift to baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve service at her church, but did not have enough money to buy anything. She created a bouquet from weeds picked along the roadside, hoping that her small gift and the love in her heart would be an acceptable gift to Jesus. When she presented her bouquet of weeds at the Nativity scene, the weeds burst into bright red flowers. Believing they had witnessed a miracle, those at the church began calling the bright red flowers “Flores de Noche Buena,” meaning “Flowers of the Holy Night.”
What Do Poinsettias Symbolize?
Poinsettias often symbolize good cheer and hope for future blessings. In the U.S. poinsettias are used during the holidays not only for their festive red and green blooms, but also for their star-like shape, which calls back to the Bible story of the first Christmas. The starburst shape of the poinsettia flower is said to represent the Star of David or the Star of Bethlehem, which in the Bible led the three wise men to visit the newborn Jesus on Christmas Eve. The red petals symbolize the blood of Jesus, while white poinsettias represent his purity.
Who Started Giving Poinsettias as a Christmas Tradition?
While 17th-century Franciscan friars started the use of poinsettias in religious Christmas traditions, the popularity of the poinsettia in U.S. popular culture didn’t come about until the mid-1800s. A man named Joel Roberts Poinsett became the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1825 and took some of these beautiful plants back to his home in South Carolina. He initially started cultivating them in his greenhouse to share with family and friends, but as the exotic, festive holiday plants became more and more popular, they became known “Poinsettias” after him.
How Long Do Poinsettia Flowers Last?
One of the best characteristics of poinsettia plants besides their beautifully lush texture and bright color is that they can live past the Christmas season. In fact, because poinsettia plants are native to southern Mexico and Central America and flower during the winter months, they can thrive well past new years if given the proper water and sunlight.
To keep your poinsettia plant looking fresh and vibrant for as long as possible, be sure to place it in an area that gets plenty of sunlight. (Windows that face east offer lots of healthy morning light.) Additionally, make sure not to overwater it (just when the soil or leaves start to feel dry), and put it in a pot with good drainage at the bottom and sides. If you want to spend a little extra time making sure it gets a specific sunlight and watering schedule during the summer, you can even re-bloom your poinsettia again in the fall. Christmas isn’t the only time of year to enjoy this beautiful flower!
Spread Holiday Cheer to Family and Friends With Poinsettias for Christmas
Highlight the spirit of the joyous Christmas season by sending a festive poinsettia plant to your family, friends, and coworkers. These cheery red plants will keep you in the holiday mood all the way into the new year. You can even have your Christmas bouquets delivered the same day when you order before 2PM! Don’t miss out on the best time of the year to send traditional poinsettia flowers for Christmas.