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Poinsettia flowers are known as a symbol of Christmas, but why is this the case? Originating from Central America, the flower is now grown across the world to be given as an indoor plant gift during the festive season.
Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, most commonly in southern Mexico, where they flower during the winter. The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man named Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. During his time in Mexico, Poinsett learned about the plants and sent some back to his home in South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends. This was the beginning of the introduction of poinsettias to the rest of the world.
The reason we associate poinsettias with Christmas is an old Mexican legend. In this tale, a young girl named Pepita was sad that she didn’t have a gift to leave for the baby Jesus at her Christmas Eve church service. With no money to buy a luxurious gift, Pepita picked a bouquet of weeds that she walked past on the way to church. She left her present at the bottom of the church’s nativity scene and as they were placed, the weeds transformed into beautiful red flowers. From that day on, they became known as “Flores de Noche Buena,” or “Flowers of the Holy Night.” The poinsettia plant is also the inspiration for why the colours of Christmas are red and green due to its red flowers and green leaves.
In Australia, we now grow poinsettias for the holiday season. However, Christmas in Australia happens in the summer, and the poinsettia plant blooms in winter, the season in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, growers must control the growing conditions including the light to induce flowering in the lead up to Christmas.
If you're looking for a Christmas gift idea, look no further than our Winter Florals, pink proteas are the stand out feature amongst carnations, leucadendron and snapdragon. Add wine and chocolates to these winter flowers or send as is, either way they will adore this Christmas surprise!
Are you styling your christmas with poinsettias this year? Share with us your favourite poinsettia flower arrangements with us on Facebook or on Instagram. Tag us using the hashtags #AlwaysInterflora and #InterfloraAU.