Monday, December 12, 2016

Poinsettias Are Popular in December Flower Arrangements

Poinsettias Are Popular for Decorating Outside 

I remember when I was growing up, we had a poinsettia plant near our back door. For some reason, my mom didn't care for it. Maybe it was because of the sticky white sap that dripped when she cut the "flowers" off to bring them in for December flower arrangements. Some people believe the sap is poisonous, but at worst it can cause skin irritation. She used to tell me it was poisonous.

Here on the California Central Coast, we can put poinsettias and sunflowers together outside at the same time, as long as there is no frost. I shot this scene in December one year as I was walking my neighborhood.

Poinsettias Are Popular in December Flower Arrangements
Poinsettias on Bench in Neighbor's Garden in December, © B. Radisavljevic 

People in frost free zones can plant the poinsettia for winter color in their gardens, as well as holly and pyracantha, which have red berries at this time of year. My area in Paso Robles is not frost free. We do have some nights below freezing. 

Many Motels and Hotels Use Poinsettias for Decorating During the Holidays

We often used to visit family and friends in Southern California for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We usually stayed at a motel in either Thousand Oaks or Orange County, or both. We saw this poinsettia plant on a table in a public area at the Best Western Motel in Thousand Oaks. 

Poinsettias Are Popular in December Flower Arrangements
Poinsettias on Table at Best Western Motel in Thousand Oaks, CA,  © B. Radisavljevic 

This photo clearly shows the parts of the plant. It has evergreen leaves. Red bracts surround the small yellow true flowers. It appears most businesses don't want to mess with the sticky sap anymore than my mother did. They use potted plants to do their decorating. 

Many people give potted poinsettias as gifts. Whether you receive one or buy one to decorate, you may wonder how to care for it. Poinsettias like sunshine, so if they are indoors, make sure they sit by a sunny window. Try to keep the temperature in the room from fluctuating too much. Although  these plants like moist soil, don't let water accumulate in the bottom of the pot's saucer or the plants may get root rot. Your plants will appreciate it if you remove the decorative foil as soon as the holiday season has passed. 

After the red bracts and flowers begin to fall, it's time to prepare your plant for storage if you want to keep it. Prune stems back to two buds and decrease the amount of water you give the plant. It won't be as thirsty as it was.Give it just enough water to keep it from drying out.  Store it in a cool place until late spring when all danger of frost is past. 

When the weather is warm enough again in late spring, you can safely set the plants outside in the sun. You may want to let them adjust by only leaving them out for a few hours a day and gradually increasing the time until they have acclimated to their new setting. Those who live in frost free areas may be able to safely plant their poinsettias in the garden against a south wall to keep them warm and to protect them from strong winds. For more detailed information and a different perspective from a friend who is actually growing poinsettias in her garden, please read Poinsettia – How Not to Kill Them by Maria Montgomery.

San Luis Bay Inn In Avila Beach Decorates with Poinsettias 

I took these photos when we were visiting a friend who was vacationing at the San Luis Bay Inn one December. This arrangement was in the lobby. Do you notice the white poinsettias in this display? 

Poinsettias Are Popular in December Flower Arrangements
Poinsettias on Display at San Luis Bay Inn in Avila Beach, © B. Radisavljevic 

I thought this arrangement was particularly striking.

Poinsettias Are Popular in December Flower Arrangements
Poinsettia Decoration at San Luis Bay Inn in Avila Beach, © B. Radisavljevic 
The San Luis Bay Inn was lovely during the Christmas season. I can see why my friend chose to stay there. If you plan to be  in San Luis Obispo County for the holidays, you might want to consider spending your vacation at the San Luis Bay Inn Resort in Avila Beach, just a short walk from the beach. It has everything you could want: kitchenettes in the large suites, wireless internet, large public areas for relaxing, swimming pool, jacuzzi, exercise room, and more.  It's a resort in every sense of the word. You can book through the banner below. Rooms fill up fast, so it's wise to plan far ahead. 


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