A passion for poinsettia

Poinsettias, also known as Mexican Flame Leaf, are traditional symbols of the festive season due to their vibrant colours and charming appeal. With an array of options in pink, red, white, cream, purple, yellow, orange, and bi-colours available in the market, your holiday collection remains incomplete without one of these beloved plants. Life is a Garden delves deeper into this fiery foliage plant.

Did you know? The ancient Aztecs utilised poinsettias to create red dye and turned to poinsettia sap for fever control.

Try this: To encourage your poinsettia to grow larger and more spectacular, plant them in your garden beneath a tree or in a shaded area. Given enough space and the right environment, these plants can easily reach heights of up to 3 meters.

Flamboyant foliage we adore: In South Africa, poinsettias commonly adorn gardens, blossoming during winter. Potted varieties are specially cultivated for the summer season, presenting in a spectrum of intense colours. Symbolising the approaching holiday season, these plants make a bold statement that lasts for months!

Grow them in full shade or indoors with ample natural light. Shield poinsettias from the scorching summer sun for optimal flowering. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch, allowing water to seep out of the drainage holes but avoiding waterlogging. Fertilise your plant weekly from mid-spring to the end of summer. Once their leaves have dropped, you can plant them outdoors or on the patio, and they will naturally bloom in winter. While poinsettias are non-toxic, their milky sap may cause skin irritation.

Did you know? The colourful ‘flowers’ of the poinsettia are actually leaf bracts; the true flowers are the yellow parts at the bracts’ centers.

Ideal for containers on the porch or dining table, visit your GCA Garden Centre or Home Store to find the perfect pot for your poinsettia. Don’t forget to pick up compost, potting soil, and fertiliser.


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