Plant of the Month: Poinsettia

Hannah Mitchell

December 14, 2020

Plant of the Month: Poinsettia

Often associated with Christmas, the beautiful poinsettia plant is perfect for bringing cheer and seasonal color. Poinsettias are long-lasting house plants, and you can use poinsettias to decorate your home for the holidays, but did you know you can also plant them in your yard? We have plenty of well-lit and humid areas in Gainesville landscaping, and that is exactly what poinsettias need to thrive!

pink and red poinsettias circling a large tree trunk in professional landscape design.

Poinsettias are technically small trees, with oval-shaped, pointed green leaves. The leaves that are brightly colored on the plant are not actually flowers but are known as bracts. The poinsettia's flowers are small and yellow and appear from the stem tips. The bold bracts, however, come in a variety of colors, with the most common being a vibrant red. The poinsettia is native to Mexico, and the plant itself is named after Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was the first United States Minister to Mexico. When caring for potted poinsettias, place them in a well-lit area away from chilly air. Use a loose, well-draining potting soil that won't get soggy, and water your poinsettia whenever the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. In order to get the best color in your poinsettia, it's important to know where its beautiful color comes from. The process of photoperiodism, or the response to proportions of light and dark within a 24-hour cycle, is what affects the poinsettia's color. This is why it's important for the plant to receive lots of light during the day but be kept away from artificial light during the night. The better this routine is followed, the brighter the plant's color will be.

white poinsettias in a pot with pink poinsettias behind in gainesville landscape nursery

After the holidays, consider transferring your poinsettias to utilize in your landscape design. The plant is a bold and beautiful addition to your lawn, and perfect for Florida weather. You can prune poinsettias by removing the faded red bracts, and then pick a sunny spot to plant with moist, fertile soil. Over the summer, you'll need to pinch back your poinsettia several times, in order to create a fuller plant with lots of flower heads. You can find out more details on caring for outdoor poinsettias here, and you can contact the friendly professionals at LawnMore to see if poinsettias are a great choice for your yard.

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