Nothing signals Christmas and the winter holidays quite like a vibrant red poinsettia display. Enjoy the festive red and green of poinsettia Christmas centerpieces at your next holiday dinner with the family, or give some poinsettia flowers as a gift to spread some holiday spirit. You can even order poinsettias online for quick delivery right before Christmas!
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Red and Green Poinsettia Centerpieces Help Ring in the Holidays
Poinsettia centerpieces are great for Christmas dinners and holiday gatherings. Their festive red-on-green color scheme has traditionally been associated with Christmas, but it's not uncommon to see these colorful plants start popping up after Thanksgiving. While they're often used as decorations in communal buildings like churches or nursing homes, they also go well on a porch or front steps to greet visitors. Display some poinsettia baskets in a shop window, throughout a workspace, or in the entryway of your home to help usher in the holiday spirit throughout December!
What Do Poinsettias Represent?
While their bright red and green color pattern is a perfect match for the holiday season, poinsettias also have some more specific Christmas symbolism. For some, the star-shaped pattern of the leaves represents the Star of Bethlehem in the Biblical Christmas story, with the color red representing Jesus' blood.
The tradition of giving poinsettias for Christmas is often traced to a Mexican legend about a young girl who couldn't afford flowers to leave at church for the baby Jesus. Instead she brought some green plants, which turned bright red when she placed them at the base of the nativity scene. Called "flores de noche buena” (“flowers of the holy night”) in Mexico, poinsettias represent humility and hope, as well as the spirit of generosity and giving what one can.
Are Poinsettias Flowers?
Poinsettias look like radiant red flowers emerging in a starburst pattern from a bed of dark green leaves. For this reason, poinsettias are often referred to as flowers, but they are actually a kind of colorful shrub. What appear to be thick, bright red petals fanning out above a base of dense green foliage are actually colored leaves called bracts. This means that poinsettia plants have the longevity and freshness of a houseplant with all the color and energy of fresh flowers.
The traditionally red leaves can also be found in other variations, including white, cream, and orange. Try alternating red and white poinsettia baskets for a bright and elegant holiday display.
Giving a Poinsettia as a Christmas Gift
Poinsettia gift baskets are a cheerful and convenient way to brighten up someone's day with a little holiday cheer. These sturdy plants typically have no smell and stay fresh for much longer than cut flowers, so the recipient can enjoy them throughout the holidays and even New Years.
Poinsettias should last through December with occasional watering. You may also lightly mist the leaves if you notice them beginning to wilt. Because they're potted plants and not harvested flowers, those willing to put in a little gardening work can keep poinsettias beyond the holiday season, and can see them rebloom the following year.
How to Take Care of Poinsettias
To keep poinsettias fresh for longer, position them near a window or in an area that gets lots of natural light throughout the day. (East-facing windows are a great option since they let in so much bright early morning light.) Keeping the temperature between 65 and 75 degrees will also help simulate the warmer environments in which poinsettias grow naturally.
You can water your poinsettias whenever the soil feels dry or if you notice the leaves getting wilty. Your watering schedule will probably vary depending on how humid or dry your home or office is. However, always remember to provide some room for drainage under and around your poinsettia pot so that the plant's roots aren't sitting in water.
If you plan to re-bloom your poinsettia, you'll need to start cutting back on the water and sunlight in April to prepare it for an altered care schedule through the summer months. For more on re-blooming a poinsettia, or just taking care of these holiday plants year-round, read our poinsettia care guide.
Poinsettia Delivery Just in Time for the Holidays
FTD makes it easy to order poinsettias online and have them delivered straight to your door or to the address of your choice completely hassle-free. We offer a variety of holiday gift baskets and flower arrangements perfect for reminding long-distance loved ones how much they're in your thoughts. Have a poinsettia delivered to a friend or loved one just in time to ring in the holiday season!