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National Poinsettia Day

National Poinsettia Day

That pop of floral colour in everyone’s home means the holidays are right around the corner. National Poinsettia Day on December 12 also forms a cultural bridge between the U.S. and Mexico. Poinsettias, known as Euphorbia Pulcherrima, come in hundreds of beautiful colours. Even if you have a limited holiday decorating budget, strategically placed poinsettias can enhance your home in various ways. What’s a holiday party without a gorgeous poinsettia plant on the mantle?

National Poinsettia Day Timeline

2002
Congress created National Poinsettia Day
The House passed a measure recognizing National Poinsettia Day and the contributions of Paul Ecke, the founder of America’s poinsettia industry.

The 1600s
Poinsettias appeared in print for the first time
Spanish botanist Juan Balme referenced the poinsettia plant in his writings, calling them by their Aztec name, Cuitlaxochitl — meaning “star flower.”

The 1300s
Aztecs used poinsettias
Poinsettia plants were prized by Aztecs, who produced a vibrant red dye.

National Poinsettia Day Activities

Make a Poinsettia Punch
Yes, there is such a thing as Poinsettia Punch, and what’s more, it’s delicious and easy to make. Blend 14 ounces of cranberry juice with 20 ounces of ginger ale. Throw in a dash of lemon juice for some citrus zing. Then, it’s glasses all around and a toast to National Poinsettia Day.
Decorate with poinsettia-inspired designs
Bring out your hidden DIY side and use poinsettias to inspire holiday designs throughout your home. Assemble your children and friends to make unusual poinsettia-themed cutouts for your Christmas tree. Make poinsettias from stained glass, sand dollars, or other unique materials. Your imagination only limits you.
Visit your local botanical gardens.
It’s a charming way to celebrate National Poinsettia Day. Not only will you be bowled over by the fantastic varieties of your favourite holiday flower, but the peaceful environment will do wonders for your blood pressure. Let poinsettias show off for you at holiday time.

Five Fancy Facts About Poinsettias

King Montezuma adored them.
The legendary Aztec king believed that poinsettia sap reduced fevers, so he had caravans deliver the flowers to him in modern Mexico City.
There are hundreds of varieties and colours.
Given that the most popular poinsettia colour is red, you may be surprised to learn that among the current 100 varieties of poinsettias, Gold Rush and Christmas Beauty Marble are the latest hot new colours.
They’re harmless
Contrary to popular opinion, poinsettias are not poisonous, but it’s still a good idea to keep them away from pets because the plants might cause stomach upset and, in some cases, vomiting.
They’re bestsellers
The poinsettia industry gushes over their plants because they are the best-selling potted plant in both the U.S. and Canada.
They’re perennials
Poinsettias can bloom after the holidays, but you must do a ton of work during the spring and summer to get them to do it.

Why We Love National Poinsettia Day

Poinsettias stem from a Christmas legend.
What we refer to as National Poinsettia Day is called “La Flor de la Nochebuena” — or Flower of the Holy Night in Mexico. Poinsettias are revered there because of a legend that recounts the story of a poor little girl who despaired of having no gift for Jesus’ birthday. When an angel appears to tell the child that the most important thing is to give a gift with love, the child gathers weeds from the side of a road to place in the baby’s manger. Miraculously, the weeds bloomed into gorgeous red star flowers.
Poinsettias were one of the first Mexican exports.
Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Poinsett was also an enthusiastic botanist who sent poinsettia cuttings home to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1828. When the plant first arrived, early botanists, considered it a weed. National Poinsettia Day marks the passing of Joel Roberts Poinsett and pays tribute to his love of a spectacular flower.
Poinsettias are big businesses in America.
Paul Ecke, Jr., a farmer in California, became the father of the modern-day poinsettia industry. He is celebrated for discovering a grafting technique which caused the seedlings to branch. Eventually, the flower bloomed into one of the largest and most profitable American businesses. Today, poinsettias contribute about $250 million annually to the U.S. economy.

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