Poinsettias herald the festive season

Few plants evoke the festive season more effectively than poinsettias.

Few plants evoke the festive season more effectively than poinsettias

These Mexican natives, a member of the Euphorbia family, are named for Joel Poinsett, who introduced the plants to North America in 1825. Growers in B.C. produce millions of these plants every year for the local and export markets.

In addition to the traditional shades of red, cream and white, “blue” poinsettias are available for those plant lovers looking for something a little different.

Already a hit in Europe, the “blue” plants were first marketed in B.C. last year by Meadowlands Horticultural Inc. in Burnaby. The distinctive-looking potted plants are actually ‘Spotlight White’ with the bracts spray-painted blue using a specially developed dye. Other growers might colour other varieties.

The “Christmas rush” for poinsettias actually begins mid-year for B.C. growers. “We are the rooting station for German breeder Dummen, which supplies us with cuttings from Costa Rica in June. After about four weeks, we ship the rooted cuttings to other growers, and also finish a large number of plants ourselves,” says Meadowlands grower Gordon Wong.

To keep poinsettias looking their best, place them out of drafts and water evenly. If you keep the plant after the festive season, care for it as you would other potted plants.