The poinsettia is actually native to Mexico, where they grow wild as a perennial shrub, sometimes reaching ten feet or more in height. Poinsettias are an important commercial crop wherever they are grown, and millions of these colorful flowers change hands every time the winter holidays roll around.
One of the most enduring myths surrounding the poinsettia is that it is a poisonous plant, but in fact a recent study has found that these plants are not toxic to either humans or pets. It is a good idea, however, to keep these beautiful flowers out of the reach of pets, both for the protection of the pet and the protection of the poinsettia. Although the flowers and leaves of the poinsettia are not toxic, their ingestion could cause stomach upset, especially in cats. Poinsettias are indeed beautiful to look at, but they are not a food source for Fluffy or Fido.
Since poinsettias are so beautiful, and such an important part of the holiday season, it is important to choose the right variety, and to ensure that the plants chosen are healthy enough to last throughout the entire Christmas season. It is important to look for a poinsettia which shows strong coloration throughout the branches, along with lots of healthy green foliage.
After the poinsettia has been brought home, it should be placed in a location with plenty of indirect sunlight and a moderate temperature. The soil should be lightly to moderately moist, and over watering should be avoided. In fact, over watering and high temperature are among the most common causes of problems with poinsettias. It is also important to avoid cold drafts, so the poinsettia should be kept well away from doors and windows that are frequently opened.
After the blooming season is over, many gardeners will want to keep their poinsettia for next year. If attempting to keep the poinsettia alive through the winter, it is important to wait until it has completely finished blooming, then cut the plant back and keep it in a cool and dark location. When properly cared for, many poinsettias will bloom again with the approach of the winter season.