Christmas

What would Christmas be without poinsettias? CF Greenhouses wants to make sure no one ever has to find out.

Preparations for the poinsettia growing operation begin more than eight months in advance to make sure no one runs short of these world-wide holiday season favourites.

Seasonal favourites include:

  • Colours: red, white, pink, burgundy, jingle bells, marble star, sliver star, maren (salmon colored), monet, chianti, carousell and winter rose to name a few.
  • Varieties: Main varieties grown are Cortez and Freedom.
  • Pot Sizes: 4.5", 6", 6.5", 8", 10", 14", Wicker Baskets, Specialty Planters.
  • Painted Poinsettias: CF has experimented with lilac, blue, yellow, orange, rose, glitter and combinations.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous.

History of the Poinsettias

The first cultivators of Euphorbia pulcherima—the tropical flowering plant we know as the poinsettia—were the Aztecs of Mexico. The Aztecs called the bright red plant cuetlaxochitl, which means "mortal flower that perishes and withers like all that is pure".

The plant was highly prized by Emperors Netzahualcyotl and Montezuma, and was used throughout Aztec culture both for ornamentation and practical medicine. Today, the poinsettia has little medicinal purpose, but historically, the leaves could be pulverized and placed on the skin to stimulate circulation, or on wounds to fight infection. The plant's sap, or latex, could be used to combat fevers.

During the seventeenth century, Franciscan priests near Taxco found the plant bloomed during the Christmas season and immediately adopted it for use in their holiday celebrations. It has been an enduring symbol of Christmas ever since.

In 1825, while visiting Taxco, Joel Robert Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, a former Secretary of War, an avid botanist and later, founder of the Smithsonian Institute, found the plant growing in the wild and sent several back to his South Carolina home. He spread them around to fellow botanists and farmers, and the name poinsettia was given to them, in honour of the man who began their cultivation in the United States.

In tropical gardens and in the wild, poinsettias can grow over 10 feet tall, but have been engineered for potted plant size to facilitate world-wide sales during the Christmas season. Today, poinsettias are the most popular plant in the world by retail sales, surpassing even the popularity of the chrysanthemum.