Spread the red: Holiday poinsettias facts
Susan Bachman West, executive director of perishable operations, shares some fun facts about this popular holiday plant.
Few sights are as synonymous with Christmastime as decorated trees, jolly carolers and the colorful indoor plants of winter: Poinsettias! In fact, though poinsettias originated in Mexico and Central America, they’re now the best-selling flowering potted plant in the United States.
Here are a few other fun poinsettia facts!
#1 – Lunds and Byerly’s poinsettias are grown right here in Minnesota.
Bachman’s growing range and greenhouses are in Farmington, Minn. All Bachman’s-grown poinsettias are distributed and sold within 100 miles of the Twin Cities. Most are sent to Bachman’s six garden centers and metro area Lunds and Byerly’s stores, while the rest go to churches and other fundraisers.
This year’s crop consists of more than 30 varieties and 72,000 poinsettias, ranging from two-foot mini plants to bountiful 12-foot pots and even specially crafted poinsettia trees reaching four feet tall!
- Water: Check the soil regularly. When it is dry to the touch, water thoroughly. Do not allow the plant to sit in standing water.
- Light: Place near a sunny window (but not touching the cold pane) to help keep the colors strong!
- Temperature: Poinsettias do best when daytime temps are between 65 and 70 degrees. Do not allow overnight temps to fall below 60 degrees to prevent root rot. Also, avoid hot or cold drafts to prevent leaf drop.
#2 – It takes months to grow poinsettias.
Cultivating tropical poinsettias in our Minnesota weather is a delicate, time-consuming process. Crop production for this holiday season started as early as February 2014 with starter cuttings for the poinsettia trees. (The larger the plant, the longer growing season it needs.) A majority of the plants are started in June, with some of the smaller plants started as late as August.
#3 – New varieties are regularly being developed.
As one of the best and most prolific growers of poinsettias in the U.S, Bachman’s is trusted every year to receive trial varieties from poinsettia breeders. These plants are numbered, but not usually named; Bachman’s grows them, sells a limited amount, and then provides feedback so the best performing varieties can become widely available. This complete process takes about three years from testing to official market introduction.
#4 – Poinsettia plants are not poisonous.
It’s a common misconception that the plants are poisonous to humans and animals. While we certainly don’t recommend eating them, they’re not harmful. The milky sap inside the stem may cause skin irritation for some people, however.
#5 – Red is the most popular color.
Bachman’s-grown poinsettias come in a wide variety of colors, from classic red, white, and pink, to various other shades (maroon, salmon) and novelty colors (marbled blends and fantasy options with glitter). There’s no question that red is the most popular color, though. About 65-70% of poinsettias purchased are red.
So get out there, grab your joyful poinsettias and enjoy spreading the red! Look for poinsettias in all Lunds and Byerly’s stores.