While today’s poinsettias come in a wide array of colorful large bracts, the original plant brought to America from Mexico by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, was a leggy bush with the showy red blooms. The botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, means “the most beautiful Euphorbia”. Now Poinsettias come in a wide array of colors: red, creamy white, pinks, burgundy and variegated with splashes or edging colors. You can celebrate National Poinsettia Day on December 12 by sharing one with family or friends.

Albert Ecke, and his son, Paul, first started growing and selling poinsettias as a field crop at their ranch near Hollywood, moving in 1923 to Encinitas. In 1963, they began to switch to greenhouse growing and propagating the newer varieties; however red is still, by far, the most popular.

Contrary to rumors, poinsettias are not poisonous to people or pets. People allergic to latex may suffer some skin irritation after touching the white ‘sap”.

While many of us consider the “flower” to be the brightly colored bracts (actually colored leaves), the true flowers are the small cluster of yellow buds in the center. When choosing your poinsettia, look for tight buds in the center rather than open flowers—your poinsettia will stay fresh and beautiful for a longer time.

Select a living Christmas Tree

We will have a great selection of evergreens including: both Green and Blue Colorado Spruce, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Baby Blue Colorado Spruce, Norway Spruce, Thunderhead and Van der Wolf Pines, Incense and Deodar Cedars, Dwarf Atlas Cedar, Thuja Green Giant, Coastal Redwoods and Giant Sequoias. If you plan on using your tree indoors we recommend that you only keep it indoors for 7 to 10 days. Once inside, keep it away from heater vents, fireplaces or wood stoves and water regularly. You can dump trays of ice cubes into the pot to keep the root ball cool. and make watering easier.

The Other Christmas Flower

Schlumbergera (in botanical language) or Zygocactus aka Christmas Cactus are available in a wide color palate of light pink, dark pink, salmon, fuchsia, white, red or yellow blooms. An easy-care houseplant, Christmas cactus will bloom naturally once a year around Christmas if kept in a cool spot (60-68ºF) where there is no light during the night (short-day treatment), setting blooms when the days start to shorten. Zygos can be kept outside in a shady area, where they will be protected from our hot afternoon sun. However, it is best to move them inside during the winter just to make sure that they will survive to bloom again year after year.