In Mexico and Central America, where the poinsettia plant is indigenous, the mountainsides blaze with bright color, often reaching 16 feet in height. The first missionaries in these areas were so enchanted by the poinsettia; they incorporated the plants into their Advent ceremonies leading up to the celebration of Christmas. Today, in America, poinsettias are light years ahead of other indoor flowering potted plants in sales, including spring-flowering bulbs such as Easter lilies and roses. Following the holidays, many poinsettias are discarded, but with proper care, you can continue to enjoy the plants year-round.
Look for plants that have lush, dense foliage that’s dark green. The yellow, central buds are actually the poinsettia flowers, so if they have already begun to drop off, the plant is old, so avoid taking it home. Check the smallest leaves that surround the center buds, ensuring they are fully colored and be sure to check them for insects or diseases. To avoid damage from cold wind and temperatures, ask the store to bag the plant.
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