Poinsettia ‘Winter Rose’
If I asked you to name a flower associated with Christmas, most of you would instantly reply “the poinsettia”. The picture in our heads is most likely the typical red, white or pink bracts surrounding the tiny yellow flowers in the center. Despite the color differences, most would agree that poinsettias generally have a similar appearance. I thought so too until I saw the ‘Winter Rose’ poinsettia.
This is a truly new form for the poinsettia. The colored bracts curl under, much like a gathered seam. It resembles a large rose-like bloom. The bracts persist after other poinsettias have perished–it is very likely that you will still be enjoying the plant in February and even longer.
As different as ‘Winter Rose’ looks, its care is much like that of other poinsettias. When purchasing, look for plants with flowers just starting to open. Many people mistake the colorful bracts for the flowers. The flowers are actually very small and yellow, nestled in the center of the colorful bracts, which are modified leaves.
When you take your new poinsettia home, make sure it is wrapped to protect from the cold winter winds. Even brief exposure to freezing temperatures can prompt the poinsettia to drop its leaves. Care should be taken to place your new poinsettia in a warm bright location in your home. Remember that poinsettias are a tropical plant, used to being in a 60 to 70ºF greenhouse. Temperatures that fall much below this range will damage the plant and cause leaf drop, and temperatures much higher will shorten the bloom time.
Poinsettias only need water when the soil feels dry. Again, there is a happy medium when it comes to watering. Too little will cause the plant to wilt and the lower leaves to drop. Too much will cause the lower leaves to yellow then drop.
The most popular plants that are used during the festive season are the Winter Rose Poinsettias and they are also known as the Christmas flowers. The winter rose Poinsettia have pink tipped white flowers and are consider the traditional and religious flowers without which all celebrations are incomplete.
People like to use these decorative flowers as centre piece as they make the room look more sophisticated. The best thing about the winter rose poinsettia is that it blooms in the winter season and makes the best of the Christmas festivity. This winter rose poinsettia is native to Mexico and the planter is surrounded by large bright red leaves and people often think that these are flowers.
These winter rose poinsettias are used for Christmas decorations and different festive ornaments are also made from it .Plus these flowers enhance the festive season and bring joy to your friends and loved ones.
People also prefer the winter rose poinsettias for their winter weddings as these flowers are a mark of religious significance. Brides who prefer the traditional bouquets like to add winter rose poinsettia to their wedding bouquet. This gives their wedding a classic and traditional look plus the decoration and the beautiful bouquet filled with vibrant winter rose poinsettia add elegance to the festive occasion.
The legend behind the Winter rose poinsettia is really very interesting as according to it there was a poor girl who had nothing to present to the Christ child and so she fell sad and her cousin tried to console her. He told her that the value of the gift is not important as it’s the thought that counts. And a gift given with pure love and devotion is more valuable then the most priceless gift. This encouraged the girl to make a bunch of beautiful traditional poinsettias and present it as a present to the Christ child but the moment that she presented them flowers sprung out of the plantar and from that day onwards this planter was associated with traditional and religious belief. All festivals are incomplete without the winter rose poinsettias decorations.
History & Legends
- The Aztecs called poinsettias “Cuetlaxochitl.” During the 14th – 16th century the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye.
- Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because poinsettias could not be grown in the high altitude.
- In the 17th century, Juan Balme, a botanist, noted the poinsettia plant in his writings.
- The botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, was assigned to the poinsettia by the German botanist, Wilenow. The plant grew through a crack in his greenhouse. Dazzled by its color, he gave it the botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima meaning “very beautiful.”
- Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico being appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820’s. At the time of his appointment, Mexico was involved in a civil war. Because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico. During his stay in Mexico he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Poinsett had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States.
- William Prescott, a historian and horticulturist, was asked to give Euphorbia pulcherrima a new name as it became more popular. At that time Mr. Prescott had just published a book called the ‘Conquest of Mexico’ in which he detailed Joel Poinsett’s discovery of the plant. Prescott named the plant the poinsettia in honor of Joel Poinsett’s discovery.
- A nurseryman from Pennsylvania, John Bartram is credited as being the first person to sell poinsettias under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima
- In the early 1900’s the Ecke family of southern California grew poinsettias outdoors for use as landscape plants and as a cut flower. Eventually the family grew poinsettias in greenhouses and today is recognized as the leading producer of poinsettias in the United States.
- Poinsettias are native to Mexico.
- The Aztecs called the poinsettia Cuetlaxochitl. They made a reddish purple dye from the bracts.
- Chile and Peru called the poinsettia the “Crown of the Andes.”
- Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae family. Many plants in this family ooze a milky sap.
- Some people may have skin irritation from the milky sap
- In nature, poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow to ten feet tall.
- The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think are the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).
- Poinsettias are priced according to the number of blooms. The more blooms, the more expensive the plant.
- The flowers or cyathia of the poinsettia are in the center of the colorful bracts.
- Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower.
- Poinsettias are not poisonous.
- A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50 pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache.
- Poinsettia sap that can irritate the skin and cause an upset stomach if consumed in large enough quantities.
- A fresh poinsettia is one on which little or no yellow pollen is showing on the flower clusters in the center of the bracts. Plants that have shed their pollen will soon drop their colorful bracts.
- Poinsettias represent over 85 percent of the potted plant sales during the holiday season.
- Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.
- In the 17th century, Juan Balme, a botanist, mentioned poinsettia plants in his writings.
- Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.
- Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states.
- California is the top poinsettia producing state.
- December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.
- The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 80 percent of poinsettias in the United States for the wholesale market.
- Ninety per cent of all the flowering poinsettias in the world got their start at the Paul Ecke Ranch.
- There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available.
- $220 million worth of poinsettias are sold during the holiday season.
- Seventy-four percent of Americans still prefer red poinsettias; 8 percent prefer white and 6 percent pink.
- Eighty percent of poinsettias are purchased by women.
- Eighty percent of people who purchase poinsettias are 40 or older.
- Poinsettias are the best selling flowering potted plant in the United States. In 2004 over 61 million plants were sold.
- Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant even though most are sold in a 6 week period.
- An NCCA Bowl game in San Diego is named the Poinsettia Bowl.
- Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.
Poinsettias are traditional Christmas plants that will last through the Christmas season and beyond. It is important to select the best plant for your home environment. The following are a few selection pointers:
- Choose a plant with dark green foliage down to the soil line.
- Choose bracts (modified leaves) that are completely colored.
- Do not purchase poinsettias with a lot of green around the bract edges.
- Do not choose plants with fallen or yellowed leaves
- The poinsettia should look full, balanced and attractive from all sides
- The plant should be 2 1/2 times taller than the diameter of the container
- Choose plants that are not drooping or wilting.
- Do not purchase plants that are displayed in paper or plastic sleeves. Plants held in sleeves will deteriorate quickly
- Do not purchase plants that have been displayed or crowded close together. Crowding can cause premature bract loss
- Check the plant’s soil. If it’s wet and the plant is wilted, this could be an indication of root rot
- Check the poinsettia’s maturity. Check the true flowers which are located at the base of the colored bracts. If the flowers are green or red-tipped and fresh looking the bloom will “hold” longer than if yellow pollen is covering the flowers
- When you take the poinsettia home, be sure to have it sleeved or covered when outdoor temperatures are below 50°F.
Caring for Poinsettias
The length of time your poinsettia will give you pleasure in your home is dependent on (1) the maturity of the plant, (2) when you buy it, and (3) how you treat the plant. With care, poinsettias should retain their beauty for weeks and some varieties will stay attractive for months.
- After you have made your poinsettia selection, make sure it is wrapped properly because exposure to low temperatures even for a few minutes can damage the bracts and leaves.
- Unwrap your poinsettia carefully and place in indirect light. Six hours of light daily is ideal. Keep the plant from touching cold windows.
- Keep poinsettias away from warm or cold drafts from radiators, air registers or open doors and windows.
- Ideally poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60 to 70°F and night time temperatures around 55°F. High temperatures will shorten the plant’s life. Move the plant to a cooler room at night, if possible.
- Check the soil daily. Be sure to punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer. Water when soil is dry. Allow water to drain into the saucer and discard excess water. Wilted plants will tend to drop bracts sooner.
- Fertilize the poinsettia if you keep it past the holiday season. Apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month. Do not fertilize when it is in bloom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are poinsettias poisonous?
Poinsettias are not poisonous. For nearly eight decades, this rumor has continued to circulate because of one unfounded story in 1919: that an Army officer’s two year old child allegedly died after eating a poinsettia leaf. While never proved by medical or scientific fact and later determined to be hearsay, the story has taken on a life of it’s own. But, the defenders of the poinsettia have pulled out all the scientific stops to allay public fears.
The Society of American Florists (SAF) worked with the Academic Faculty of Entomology at Ohio State University (OSU) to exhaustively test all parts of the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). OSU researchers established that rats exhibited no adverse effects – no mortality, no symptoms of toxicity, and no changes in dietary intake or general behavior patterns – when given even unusually large amounts of different poinsettia parts. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accepts animal tests as valid indicators whether any product or natural growth is harmful to human health.
The OSU research was conducted 23 years ago and other sources have continued to reinforce the poinsettia’s safety.
According to the American Medical Association’s Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, other than occasional cases of vomiting, ingestio of the poinsettia plant has been found to produce no effect.
After reviewing all available poinsettia related information, the CPSC denied a petition in 1975 to require warning labels for poinsettia plants. Despite its continued circulation, the myth of the poinsettia is gradually losing steam.
Source: Society of American Florists
In a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine 22,793 cases of poinsettia exposures were electronically analyzed. 98.9% of the exposures were accidental with 93.9% involving children. 96.1% of the exposed patients were not treated in a health care facility and 92.4% did not require any type of therapy.
How do you get a poinsettia to bloom?
To get a poinsettia to re-flower you have to keep it in total darkness between 5 pm and 8 am. Start this around October 1st and continue until color shows on the bracts; usually around early to mid-December. Any little exposure to light can prevent flowering. Covering the plant with a light-proof bag and placing it in a closet might work. Night time temperatures above 70-75°F can decay or prevent flowering.
How can I make my poinsettia last during the holiday season?
- Place the poinsettia in a sunny window.
- Do not let any part of plant touch cold window panes.
- Indoor temperatures from 60 to 70°F is ideal for long plant life.
- High temperatures will shorten the life of the colorful bracts.
- Water only when the soil is dry.
- Placing your poinsettia in a cool room 55 to 60°F at night will extend blooming time.
- Do not fertilize when plant is in bloom.
- Avoid temperature fluctuations and warm or cold drafts.
I want to keep my poinsettia plants. When can I take them outside?
Move your poinsettia plant outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. Place it in a sunny area but where it will get moderate shade in the afternoon.
Should I fertilize my poinsettia if I am keeping it past the holiday season?
Fertilize once a month with a water soluble houseplant fertilizer.
How often should I water the poinsettia?
Be sure to remove foil covering drain holes before watering. Water only when the soil is dry. Do not let the poinsettia wilt. Do not let it sit with water in the saucer. Empty the saucer.
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