Categories > Christmas

Poinsettia History & Care

Poinsettias have been synonymous with the holiday season for years. But how did these vibrant, crimson flowers become Christmas staples?

There is a Mexican legend (Poinsettias originate from Mexico), that goes like this:

A poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. Her name was Pepita and as she walked to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, she felt ashamed and saddened. “I am sure, Pepita, that even the humblest gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes,” her cousin Pedro told her, in an effort to reassure her.
Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the modesty of her contribution. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she entered the small village chapel.
As she approached the altar, she remembered Pedro’s kind words: “Even the humblest gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.

No sooner did she place the flowers at the alter than they burst into blooms of brilliant red! They were the most beautiful cherry-red blossoms Pepita had ever seen. All who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their very eyes.
From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season and thus, the legend of the poinsettia was born.

To this day, millions of poinsettias are purchased around the holiday season. The most common poinsettia colour is red, accounting for three quarters of all poinsettia sales worldwide. But did you know poinsettias also come in white, pink, orange and cream colours? It’s true!

Interested in learning more about this seasonal wonder? Check out our Poinsettia Care video series on our YouTube channel! Each video is filled with helpful tips on how to keep your poinsettia in perfect condition.

3 Easy Things to Keep your Poinsettia Looking Great: Thing 3 – Creature Comfort

The third thing for caring for your poinsettia is just basic comfort. Again, bearing in mind it’s tropical ancestry, it likes to be comfortably warm – not too hot and not too cold – kind of like Goldilocks’ porridge.

Maintain your poinsettia at room temperature, in the high teens to low 20s Celsius and keep it from areas that are too hot or too cold.

Spots like next to warm forced air vents or fireplaces will dry it out quickly, and do a number on the leaves and flowers, desiccating them and making them crispy.

An area that is notorious for being too chilly is right by the front door that opens up to our freezing winter air, giving the poinsettia regular blasts of subzero freshness.  We get that it’s  awesome to have that poinsettia splash of color at the front door to greet company, but set it back a little further into the house. Draughty window ledges and cold window panes offer the same.  When a poinsettia is chilled it will look wilted – sometimes they recover but other times they do not.

Enjoy this traditional Christmas decoration and all of us at Wallish Greenhouses wish you a most delightful Christmas!

 Contact us today for more information about caring for your poinsettia!

Christmas Tree Success

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, everywhere we go. There is still something very nostalgic about having a live Christmas tree.  Popular varieties are Scotch Pine, White Pine, and Balsam Fir.

Here are a few pointers on choosing and caring for a live tree.

Selecting an Awesome Christmas Tree:

  •  First – know the final destination of your tree – determine the height required and width needed, give it space to stretch out
  • A freshly cut, well hydrated Christmas tree should have the following characteristics:
    • A healthy green color & is fragrant – indicates it has maintained its water content
    • Strong looking – not ‘wilty’
    • The needles stay on when you gently pass you hand down a branch
    • The needles are pliable, they don’t snap when you lightly bend them
    • The outer needles stay on when you pick the tree up and gently tap it on its stump – inner needles will always slough off, it’s part of their natural cycle
  • Check for a stump that is at least 8-10” long to give you wiggle room for trimming
  • Look for any insects

Caring for your Christmas Tree:

  • Store your tree outdoors until you are ready to decorate it
    • Cut off about 1-2” from the base to open the pores which have been sealed off by the pitch or sap solidifying; and place it in a bucket of water that holds at least 4 litres or 1 gallon of water.
    • Keep it in a sheltered location protected from sun & wind
  • When you are ready to move it indoors, cut off another 1-2” and place it in a Christmas tree holder that again holds a minimum of 4 litres or 1 gallon of warm water – this encourages the sap to flow so the branches can re-hydrate
  • Water every day, they may drink up to 4 litres or 1 gallon a day because bringing it indoors breaks its dormancy
  • Keep the water level above the cut line of the stump or ideally you will need to re-cut that stump because the pores will seal – and you SO don’t want that to happen!! – set an alarm to remind yourself to water the tree if you have to
  • The cooler the tree is, the longer it will last
    • Keep it a good distance from sources of heat such as fireplaces, heat registers, wood stoves, baseboard heaters, etc
  • An anti-transpirant spray may be helpful in extending the life of your tree by decreasing the moisture loss through the branches and needles
  • Adding sugar, baking soda, bleach, etc to the water has no effect on extending the life of your tree – use clear water

Safety Tips:

The possibility of your live Christmas tree going up in flames is a real and present danger. Here are some tips to keep your tree safe:

  • Never use real candles
  • Use non-flammable Christmas decorations
  • Use LED lights – they stay cooler
  • Turn off your Christmas lights when you are out of your house or sleeping

Recycle Your Tree

 Remember to recycle your tree once you are done with it.

  • In Strathcona County:
    • For those with curbside service, tree pickup is Jan 2-13, 2017
    • Instructions for rural residents are on the website
    • More information can be found on the Strathcona County website

Sources:  http://www.almanac.com/content/christmas-tree-care-tips, http://www.christmastrees.on.ca/index.php?action=display&cat=34, http://www.almanac.com/content/christmas-tree-care-tips, http://www.strathcona.ca/departments/utilities/waste-collection-recycling/special-events/christmas-tree-pickup/, https://www.evergreen.ca/blog/entry/10-easy-care-tips-for-your-christmas-tree/, https://www.bugwood.org/christmas/pdf/97007.pdf

Contact us today for more information on caring for live trees!