Poinsettia is our nation’s most popular potted flowering plant. What makes this remarkable is that most poinsettias are sold between the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

According to a news release from the University of Missouri Extension, extension horticulturist David Trinklein says:

"Despite its short sales period, poinsettia contributed $170 million to the U.S. economy last year."

Native to southern Mexico and Central America, poinsettia has become symbolic of the holiday season for many Americans.

Trinklein goes on to say in the article that Poinsettia is a short-day plant, meaning it needs long periods of uninterrupted darkness each day in order to bloom. In nature, the lengthening nights of late September and October trigger poinsettias to flower.

While poinsettias with red bracts remain the most popular, they also come in creamy white, shades of pink and orange, marbled in pink and white, and with pink flecks on red.

When shopping for a poinsettia, look for leaves and bracts that do not show any wilting, which could indicate root problems. You should also look at the underside of the leaves to check for insect damage.

With proper care, poinsettias stay beautiful throughout the holiday season. Put the plant in bright, indirect light, and do not overwater. If the plant sits on a saucer, empty it after the pot drains following watering. If your poinsettia is wrapped in decorative foil, make sure there is a drain hole in the foil.

Poinsettias are not poisonous. Research conducted decades ago at Ohio State University debunked that urban legend, which still circulates today.

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