The poinsettia is originally from Mexico, and is commonly used in Christmas decor and floral displays. It is found in the wild in deciduous tropical forests in Mexico from southern Sinaloa and down the entire Pacific coast. There are reports of it growing natively in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but that has not been documented by botanists at this time.
The plant was first introduced to our country in 1828 by the first United States Mexico Minister, Joel Roberts Poinsett, according to the website, Days of the Year Botanist William Hickling Prescott later named the flower “Poinsettia pulcherrima” in 1837.
Aztecs used the poinsettia plants for medical purposes and to produce red dye. They call the plant Cuetlaxochitl, which means, “flower that grows in residues,” and considered it to be a gift from the Gods. It is called the Flor de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Flower) in Mexico and Guatamala. But, it’s not just favored in the Americas. In Turkey, they call it Atatürk's flower, after the founder of the Republic who liked it and encouraged cultivation in that country. Hungary calls it the Santa Claus Flower.
In Mexico, the poinsettia is displayed on December 12, the Dia de le Vergen, which is translated Virgin’s Day.
Poinsettias now come in many colors besides red - there are pinks, yellows and even marbled alternatives. Watters carries a wide variety of poinsettias to choose from, as well as Christmas trees and cacti.
"Poinsettias should be kept in a warm room and away from drafts to ensure they last as long as possible,” suggests Ken Lain, from Watters Garden Center