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Dispel The Poinsettia Toxicity Myth

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Dec 03, 2020


From Our Colleagues at The Society of American Florists:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — December 2, 2020 — The poinsettia is the quintessential Christmas plant. However, many consumers (namely, pet owners and parents of young children) shy away from it because of the belief that it can endanger a loved one.
Set the record straight on this longstanding myth: The poinsettia is the most widely tested plant and has been proven to be non-toxic. Research trials at Ohio State University revealed that a pet or child would need to ingest more than 500 leaves to become seriously ill. (That said, poinsettias are a decoration and should be kept out of reach of children and animals prone to munching on foreign objects.)
About SAF
The Society of American Florists is the only national trade association that represents all segments of the U.S. floral industry. SAF provides government advocacy, education and marketing advice; and connects industry members who want to learn, share ideas and grow; helps the industry recruit and retain talent; and provides guidance to the industry to prepare for and navigate the future. The association was chartered by an act of Congress in 1884. To learn more about SAF or to join, visit

Tags: Poinsettia, SAF, Society of American Florists, Holiday Decor

A Poinsettia Isn’t Just Your Everyday Christmas Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 16, 2016

The poinsettia is the most popular species of flower grown for the month of December and is cultivated for the sole purpose of seasonal arrangements and décor.  The Christmas bloom is both traditionally recognized as one of the top five holiday symbols (trees, wreaths, lights and holly are above) as well as the most frequently purchased item for gifts.  Every year, florists seek out premier plants from premier growers expecting that it will once again be an item of high demand. If you aren’t familiarly with the poinsettia, take a good look and you, too might become smitten with its seasonal attractiveness.   Formed with large star-like petals and decadent hues of red, white, pink and burgundy, the pleasant visual presentation keeps this product continuously in high demand.  Easily transportable and relatively affordable compared to other Yuletide tokens, its no wonder why guests often pick up a poinsettia as a quick gift for friends and family!

winter rose poins.jpg

Here’s the irony…  Compared to other plant varieties generally grown in greenhouses, the poinsettia is incredibly difficult to produce and cultivate on a grand stage of performance.  Issues concerning temperature control, lighting and watering have given this bloom the reputation of being a fussy plant that many florists sometimes wish to phase out of their holiday product line.  Personally I think that it’s pretty unfair.  I mean, what do you expect from a plant that originated in the arid desert of Mexico?  Poinsettias come from a natural region consisting of soaring heat waves and well-drained soil conditions.  Bean Town’s ever changing climate and weather conditions make growing this species almost impossible to duplicate in the northeast, although there are a few gifted growers who are successful…  If you’re curious how your Christmas Poinsettia was cared for before purchase, read these tips on how to productively cultivate these beautiful holiday plants.


  1.  Temperature Control

This flower not only requires a warm Celsius reading, it’s also incredibly susceptible to frost bite even when exposed to the smallest amount of chill.  As I said before, this species is a tropical bloomer so you must do the best you can to replicate these conditions even after you’ve brought it home.  Keep them away from doors and windows and make sure they stay away from drafty areas in the house.

poinsettias boston.jpg

photo credit via

  1.  Let There Be LIGHT

As if growing these babies couldn’t get any more difficult, they also need a minimum of six to eight hours contact with bright light.  As you can imagine, the northeast gets pretty dark these days and finding this amount of adequate sunlight can become tricky.  Many agriculturalists are forced to provide faux overhead lamps to deceive the plants into thinking that it’s really natural light.  When this happens, there’s a mix bag of results.  Typically you’ll see the plant’s leaves droop or experience stem decay well before the expected end of its lifeline.  


  1.  Water, Water, WATER

Another proven difficulty is watering.  Poinsettias adore healthy moisture and misting but they detest sitting on top of it.  In order to prevent mold and decay of roots, it’s crucial to have a watering tray underneath that can be emptied periodically.  Packing the bottom of pots with pebbles can also do the trick, which will allow the excess water to drain easily from the container.  

Tags: Poinsettia, Plant Care, Christmas, Winter Rose

Don't Waste Your Money on a Poinsettia from Home Depot

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Nov 26, 2016

Local Boston Greenhouse
Did you know that Exotic Flowers of Boston grows hundreds of our own poinsettias at the Lombardi Florist greenhouses in Roslindale. For years, we have witnessed the glut of Canadian grown poinsettias in Massachusetts. These Canadian poinsettias flood the marketplace in November with low price tags and even lower quality. Caveat emptor.
If you cannot make it to an experienced grower or nursery like Exotic Flowers or Lombardi Florist, here are some purchasing tips so that your poinsettias lives beyond Christmas.
poinsettia boston resized 600
Flowers: Poinsettias are leafy plants with dark green leaves. Many people believe these leaves are the flowers. They are incorrect. The real flowers are the tiny mostly yellow berrylike cyathia in the center of the leaf bract. The cyathia should be fully developed but unopened and displaying no pollen.
Colored Bracts: look for poinsettias with thoroughly colored bracts. You want a poinsettia that does not appear bruised or blemished. Droopy is bad. Avoid plants with 'burned' or dried out edges.
Leaves: Look for a poinsettia with plentiful dark green foliage all the way down to the stems. Avoid poinsettias with yellow or brown edged leaves.
Soil: Check for waterlogged soil. This could be a sign of root rot.
Pests and Diseases: If you see any type of pests or mold, avoid that plant.
white poinsettia boston resized 600
The United States recognizes Poinsettia Day every December 12th, which is also the day Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett died. Dr. Poinsett is was an American diplomat who introduced the poinsettia to the United States from its native Mexico. There is now even a College Football Bowl Game in San Diego every December to honor and promote the poinsettia, The Poinsettia Bowl.

Tags: Lombardi Florist, Boston Greenhouse, Poinsettia, Plant Care

Poinsettia Heaven

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 30, 2015

Pretty soon, we will be entering the season of poinsettias and this year you will be pleasantly surprised by the incredible varieties that will be available!  The plant otherwise known as the “Christmas Flower” has long been a true symbol of the yuletide holiday and is still ranked as one of the top items bought for gifts.  If you’re not familiar with the poinsettia, here are a few facts that you’ll enjoy learning, which make this plant so special.

Boston Poinsettias

Photo credit: flower factor

* A poinsettia’s leaves are bright in color and can be white, red, pink, red or peach.  New species are cultivated yearly so be sure to check with your florist about any new shades that may be soon available.  

Poinsettias in Boston

* The leaves are called “bracts” because they are tinted instead of simply being green.  The reason why the bracts are colored is to attract pollinators to the plant’s flower.

* Although the poinsettia looks like only a plant, there is a small bloom located in the middle of the plant bracts.  The bloom has a special name called “cyathia” which is where bees and other insects produce pollen.

* The poinsettia actually dislikes the cold weather even though it is primarily popular during the icier months of the year.  Originally, the plant was found in Mexico by a botanist named Joel Roberts Poinsett in the 1820’s.  With the specimen, he returned to his home in South Carolina and began to cultivate the plant.  

* and no the plant is not toxic to cats or people.



Tags: Poinsettia, Holiday Decor, Christmas, Holidays, December

A Poem by Flower Design Legend Rich Salvaggio

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Dec 13, 2012

Holiday Poem Holiday Happiness by Rich Salvaggio

Snow-softened landscapes

And poinsettias brighten the spirit

Flames cavorting in the hearth

With boughs of holly draped along the mantel

And mistletoe dangling, tempting

Capturing kisses, giggles, and sparks!


 RICH SALVAGGIO resized 600

“Reprinted with permission from Flowers And Profits – Rich Salvaggio”


Tags: Poinsettia, Poetry, Teleflora, Christmas Trees, Christmas

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