How to Select a Gift Poinsettia
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Poinsettia is a flowering plant native to Mexico. The plant is named for Joel Robert Poinsett, amateur botanist and United States Ambassador, who was envoy to Mexico in the 1800s. During his stay Poinsett discovered a winter-blooming plant that he brought to the United States. In the wild, native poinsettias are leggy with irregular flowers. Years after Poinsett brought the tropical flowers to the United States. The Paul Ecke company in California developed compact poinsettias that could be potted for holiday decorations. Today, poinsettias are the traditional Christmas flower. They are a popular gift for friends, party hostesses and family. Here are easy ways to pick the perfect poinsettia.
Pick plants by their foliage. The colorful upper bracts should stand out from the plant. Foliage should be thick and extend the full height of the plant from pot line to the small yellow top flower. The plant should be 2 or more times the size of the pot with no wilted leaves. The potting soil should feel lightweight, as poinsettias are tropical plants and do not like dense wet soil.
Select poinsettias by color. Poinsettias are available in cream, pink, speckled, marbled and coral. Red is the best-selling color among the 70 to 80 million poinsettias sold each year, but new hybrids have beautiful colors and shading for decorative gifts.
Buy miniature poinsettias for party favors or small space home gifts. These miniatures are grown in 2 to 4 inch pots. They are available in the full range of poinsettia colors. They are small enough to fit in gift mugs or tumbler glasses.
Choose standard poinsettias in 8 to 10 inch pots. These pots can be placed inside woven baskets or ceramic pots for gifting. They can also be wrapped in foil with a ribbon added for holiday color. These are the most common gift poinsettias. Look for plants with 3 to 5 fully colored flowers.
Pick a large multi-flowered plant for a hostess or party gift. These plants are up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet across. They look like brilliant shrubs of color. These impressive plants dominate entryways and provide party decor throughout the holiday weeks for patios and courtyards.
Search for poinsettia trees or other unusual poinsettia gifts. These unique plants are pinched and shaped during growth for their striking appearance. Some have a broad umbrella canopy with many flowers opening at the top of the plant. Others are globe-shaped or lollipop shaped; 4 to 5 feet tall. Look for strong stems and healthy foliage as these plants can last well after the holiday season.