In 1835 Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the poinsettia to the United States. His death on December 12th is now honored as National Poinsettia Day.
A few weeks ago I had the unique experience of visiting the Bachman’s greenhouse where they grow 70,000 poinsettias for the holiday season each year. They begin seedlings in June to prepare for the holiday season, and produce 30 different varieties of poinsettias, ranging from 2 inches to 4 feet.
Bachman’s began propagating and growing poinsettias in 1931. Today they are regarded as one of the best growers of poinsettias in the United States.
I had the opportunity to paint my own poinsettia on my visit— yes those funky colored blue, purple, and glittered ones are all hand painted by a guy named Brad. He will hand paint and glitter approximately 5,800 poinsettias each year.
Some fun poinsettia facts:
- The poinsettia is the best-selling potted plant in the US and Canada
- The poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America
- It was referred to as the “Crown of the Andes”
- It is the December birth flower
- It is said to symbolize good cheer and success and to bring wishes of mirth and celebration
- The Aztecs crushed the red leaves of poinsettias to make dyes for cosmetics and textiles
- Place near a sunny window where they will receive at least 6 hours of daylight
- Avoid placing in direct sun, as direct sun may bleach the bracts
- Temperatures should not exceed 70 degrees during the day or below 65 degrees at night
- Poinsettias prefer moist but not saturated soil
- Feed with water-water-soluble fertilizer monthly
I asked Bachman’s President and CEO, Susan Bachman West, which is the proper way to pronounce poinsettia: do you pronounce the “i” at the end or is it silent?!?
I received a very quick and confident answer of “It is pronounced ‘poin-set-ah’ with a silent i.”
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