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The History of the Poinsettia

Most people don’t realize this, but the poinsettia is the most recognized plant on the planet. Its origins date back centuries to Mexico where the Aztecs would use the sap from the plant for medicinal purposes as well as making a dye out of the red leaves, which are also called bracts. The Aztecs called the poinsettia Cuetlaxochitl. In nature, poinsettias are tropical, so you unfortunately cannot plant them outside in New York during the holidays.

The poinsettia first came to the United States in 1825 by way of Joel Poinsett, who at the time was the U.S. Diplomat to Mexico. He was a botanist and brought a cutting back to the U.S. Later in the 20th century, the Ecke Farm of California was responsible for mass-producing the plant and introducing it as the Christmas Tradition it has become. In fact, 90% of all poinsettias grown in the world today originated from the Ecke Farm.

Cool Facts

    • Poinsettias are not poisonous
    • December 12th is National Poinsettia Day
    • There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias grown in the world today
    • Poinsettias are grown commercially in all 50 States
    • California is the top producing poinsettia state
    • 80% of all poinsettias are purchased by women
    • Even though they come in many colors, 74% of Americans prefer red poinsettias
    • Poinsettias are the top selling potted plant in the U. S. even though most are sold in a 6 week period
    • Poinsettias represent over 85% of all potted plant sales during the holiday season
    • The NCAA has a Bowl Game in San Diego every year called the Poinsettia Bowl

When you bring your poinsettia home, keep it in a bright sunny location in your house. Keep it in a room that doesn’t fall below 65 degrees at night. The poinsettia prefers moist soil that is not too wet. Water the soil when it is slightly dry to the touch. Poinsettias will last well after the holiday season is over, so when the red flowers start to turn, cut the plant back and give it a good shot of fertilizer. You can enjoy this as a nice tropical houseplant with attractive green foliage. In the late spring, transplant it to a new planter and keep it outside in your yard. Mid September, bring your poinsettia back inside and with a little luck it will re-flower for you the following holiday season.

So this Christmas when you are standing around the eggnog with friends and family, “wow” them with your knowledge of the Poinsettia Plant. At the very least, it could liven up a dull holiday party.

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The Meaning Behind Mistletoe

Kissing under the mistletoe dates back to England during the 16th Century and a sprig of it hung over a doorway remains one of the Christmas Seasons most cherished traditions. The Druids in Celtic Britain worshiped its spiritual and healing powers and was often hung from ceilings or doorways to drive off the evil spirits and also to insure fertility.

Believe it or not, mistletoe is considered a parasitic plant. It sends its roots into the bark of trees and draws water and nutrients from it. Mistletoe is grown in the eastern United States from New Jersey to Florida and west toTexas and Illinois.  Mistletoe has evergreen leaves that feel leathery to the touch. It grows in a ball shape and usually has white berries.  New batches of mistletoe are found during the Winter Solstice.

Mistletoe has many herbal uses.  It has been used to help with high blood pressure, anxiety, headaches and even to treat cancer.  There are also many myths and magical tales surrounding mistletoe.  People hung it in there house all year long to protect their home from fire and evil energy and also placed it over baby’s cribs to protect the baby from goblins.

For Christmas, mistletoe is a symbol of peace, joy and love.  It should be the first decoration you put up and the last to come down.  In the 18th century it was believed that people who kissed under the mistletoe would marry.  Today the mistletoe kiss can be about romance, friendship or fun.  Hang it in a doorway and when people who walk under it are expected to kiss.  This is always a huge hit at parties and can even lead to some interesting or embarrassing situations.

Mistletoe led to the creation of the kissing ball.  The kissing ball is a fresh or artificial ball of evergreens decorated with ribbons and ornaments.  People who walk under a kissing ball can not refuse a kiss.  Stop down toDees’ and grab some mistletoe and let’s get the smooching going. For all the ladies reading this email, we provide free testing of the mistletoe before you leave.