It seems like every holiday season, I find myself once again defending the honor of the famous Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly known as the poinsettia. Urban legends and myths abound regarding this hearty holiday bloom, falsely accusing it as being toxic or poisonous to humans and animals.
Lies! All lies and deception!
To be less dramatic and completely factual, a 1996 study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that out of 22,793 reported cases of poinsettia exposure in children, not only were there no fatalities, but 92.4% of the subjects experienced no toxic effects at all.
These unique plants are of interesting heritage. They are from the succulent family and come in a multitude of colors and varieties. Bloom colors range from red to pink, white, marble, orange, yellow and even purple. The flowers come in different shapes from rounded to jagged and even feather-like. The succulent link comes from the milky sap in their veins, similar to many cacti.
Each year, we sell poinsettias to our clients to add a holiday touch to their offices and homes. Our plants come in red, red and red, similar to Henry Ford’s color selection of his famous Model T in black, black and black. Why mess with perfection, right?
My tips for keeping your poinsettia looking its best:
- Place your potted poinsettia near a sunny window, preferably facing south, east or west. These are sun-loving plants.
- To keep the plant in bloom as long as possible, maintain a 65-75 degree temperature and don’t let it go below 60 degrees at night.
- Water your plant whenever the potting surface feels dry to the touch and drain water until it comes through the bottom. Don’t let your poinsettia sit in pooled water.
While we appreciate and sell these beautiful plants every year and are relieved that they are not toxic, poinsettias should be kept out of the way of children and pets to protect their tender blooms. Although poinsettias aren’t toxic another holiday favorite IS toxic: mistletoe. Keep your mistletoe up and out of reach from pets and children. Clean up any fallen leaves or growth from mistletoe.
All of us at Good Earth Plants hope you enjoy your poinsettias and other holiday décor, and that the holidays are shaping up to be all that you have hoped for.
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