Love Poinsettias? Thank a Phytoplasma.

poinsettias_20091218_plh_5604For many of us gardeners, poinsettia plants are an essential element of our Christmas decorating. I love the huge displays at church and in the stores, even if I don’t have room for that many in my home. I’ve written about how to keep the plants alive (see my 2012 post on “Pretty Poinsettias”). But this year I learned something new.

When I was small (I had my sixth birthday on the trip), my parents and I spent four weeks traveling around Mexico, from early December to early January. It was a wonderful time to visit, with all the Christmas and New Year celebrations. One common sight we couldn’t miss were the gardens full of bright red poinsettias in full bloom.

Continue reading “Love Poinsettias? Thank a Phytoplasma.”

Pretty Poinsettias

Poinsettias_20091218_PLH_5602Everywhere we turn, we see red. Poinsettias decorate our homes, churches, businesses and stores. How did a tropical plant become such a pervasive symbol of Christmas? Are poinsettias poisonous? And what should I do with my plants once the holidays are over?

With their bright red color (although they also come in salmon and white now), it’s not surprising that we like to brighten a dreary winter landscape with poinsettias. It’s  too bad they’re only available during the holidays; they’ll live for years given the right care.

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