Poinsettia

Poinsettia

No longer just the old familiar bright red, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are now available in a multitude of colors, from pink, white, deep rosy red, and orange-red, to variegated pink & cream, a marbled red & white, and now a yellowish white. I love them all, and had several in my garden when we lived in central Florida. Each Christmas season, I added at least one to my collection. The last holiday season we were there, I added two of the red-and-white, and one of the pink-and-white. These were very small and still in pots until after the holidays. The pink-and-cream one (shown above) was, and still is, my favorite.

 

 

After the danger of freezing temperatures had passed, usually mid-March, I planted them in my garden. If you live in an area with colder temperatures, you can still grow these beauties in pots. Just be sure to take them inside in winter. The pink-and-white one added a nice splash of color to the night garden that I was creating in our back yard. What’s a night garden? Just wait for my post on that topic coming soon.

Poinsettia are cold hardy in zones 9b to 11. For info on caring your poinsettia during and after the holidays, check out my blog post “Keeping Poinsettia Alive After the Holidays” by clicking right here.

Did you know the colored leaves are not the blooms? They are just leaves called bracts that turn gorgeous colors when the time is right. The shorter days of winter cause the leaves to change colors. This photo of my Breast Cancer Poinsettia (a rich pink) which was taken in late November, just as the leaves were changing color. Don’t you love the tiny white rim on the hot pink leaves?

The internal changes that trigger the color change also tell the plant to form the flower buds. The flowers are quite small, and are easily missed. Below is one of my white poinsettia with buds almost ready to open:

Here’s a closer look at those tiny buds. They should be opening any day now.

The photos above are close-up shots from the large shrub below. It was in our back yard for several years, and grew to about 4 feet tall — poinsettias are actually flowering shrubs. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma destroyed it. I replaced it the following December, but it will be a while before the new one is this large.