us who go with the natural flow of the seasons, it is in gray November when we
plan for December’s most widely and, probably, longest celebrated event –
that is, no mistake about it, Christmas.
so we now invariably make notes and reminders for the merry month ahead:
Plan the trips during the
Send Christmas card and
packages by December 8.
Find lights and
decorations for the tree.
Donate some toys and
gifts to charity.
Make a Christmas list –
and make sure you’re on it.
Finish holiday shopping.
Fill the house with the
scents and sounds of the holidays.
And not to forget, bring
in the poinsettia.
Yes, the poinsettia, of course, which adds its own little magic to the Big
Season’s delight. And how: a tropical shrub, the poinsettia’s bracts
(petal-like leaves) surrounding its small yellow-gold flowers turn, as if on cue
around this November-December period, to showy, scarlet ones – which we
appreciate, but forgiven for mistaking them as the flowers themselves.
actually coming to full-bloom around the brr-rr-rr-rmonths and in time for the
red-letter season, the red poinsettia holds its growing reputation as a true
Christmas flower. The poinsettia’s (euphorbia
pulcherrima) roots are traced back in the tropical soil of South America and
America’s boundaries around Mexico. It was named after American diplomat Joel
R. Poinsett (1799-1851) who was once the United States Minister to Mexico. It
can be surmised that he “discovered” the plant for the gardening public in
America, and hence, the world.
the Baguio-based King Louise Flowers and Plants, Inc. is at the forefront of
poinsettia horticulture. "The poinsettia is always a bestseller,”
confirms Francis Gener who manages the company’s branches in Baguio (Km. 3,
Asin Road), Bulacan (Dulong Bayan “Karyapay”, San Jose del Monte) and Manila
(Manila Seedling Bank complex, Quezon Ave., cor. EDSA, Quezon City). “When we
started in 1983, we only had the typical red and white varieties of poinsettia.
The pink variety was developed only in 1986.”
to cutting edge experimentation and propagation, it is now a much sought-after décor
plant, meaning it is used as is – a pretty, potted whole (“live” roots,
leaves, buds and all) – whether it stays outdoors in a garden or it goes
indoors as the garden. “Indeed, there’s a poinsettia for very important
celebrations of life: red for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s, and white for
all church rites like weddings. That’s how they are much in demand now,”
the real plant lovers, poinsettia is a care-easy plant to have. Gener has the
Growing poinsettias must
stay under partial shade.
Water them regularly
around the roots. (Rainwater falling on its leaves causes the color to fade).
Fertilize with nutrients.
(Coco pit, lahar and pumice are the best mixture.)
If cut-flower is more
your style, dip the stem into melted candle before soaking in water of a flower
vase. This way, the poinsettia bloom can last as long as three days.
nothing like, say, growing your own pot or plot of poinsettia. Plant nurseries
like King Louis’ (in Baguio, Bulacan, and Bukidnon) have
“starter kits” for sure. Basically, you just need to decide your
color preference. “To do that, look at the stem. If it’s dark green you’ll
have deep red poinsettia; pale green produces the white poinsettia; and the
slight hint of pink along the stem and you’ll have a lovely pink
poinsettia,” concludes Francis Gener.
about having all three colors of poinsettia? So you have three lovely ways of
enjoying the holidays.