Poinsettia in Hanging Baskets and
Poinsettias are a great container plant and look
superb in hanging baskets, hanging planters and garden planters. They
are used widely during the holiday season adding festive cheer. Due to
their popularity they are becoming more and more affordable and widely
A Brief History
Euphorbia pulcherrima or poinsettia is a flowering
plant indigenous to Mexico and Central America.
The Aztecs cultivated the poinsettia (Euphorbia
pulcherrima) in Mexico long before Europeans came to the Western
It was cultivated in Oaxatcpec, which is now the
Mexican state Morelos. The poinsettia was prized by Kings Netzahualcyotl
and Montezuma and its indigenous name was Cuetlaxochitl.
The Aztecs used the bracts for a reddish-purple dye
and the latex to counteract fever.
The name "poinsettia" is after
Joel Poinsett the first United States Minister to Mexico. Joel
Poinsett was so taken with the plant he introduced it into the US in the
late 1820s early 1830s.
The richly colored leaves or bracts at the top of
the plant are not the flower petals of the plant. The flowers are
actually small flowers found in the center of each leaf bunch, and they
are called cyathia.
There are over 100 cultivated varieties of
Poinsetta’s use over the Holiday’s
In 16th century Mexico a young girl was too poor to
provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday – so the child,
inspired by an angel, gathered wild flowers from the fields and placed
them in front of the church altar. The crimson "blossoms were
poinsettias. Since then their use has become widespread and more and
more associated with the Holidays.
Many stores now offer not only poinsettia plants
for sale from November onwards – but they also supply a wide range of
poinsettia in hanging baskets, hanging planters, as living wreaths and
in mixed table combinations.
For those without “green fingers” artificial
poinsettia are also available as loose stems, plants, and even pre-made
pre-lit hanging baskets and wreaths.
Poinsetta’s in Hanging Baskets &
Poinsettas are easy to grow in hanging baskets – you may buy them
potted up already or simply buy the plants and then plant them into your
favorite hanging basket yourself.
Once planted give them a gentle water – remove any dead or damaged
leaves or bracts and then hang your baskets or planters somewhere where
you can enjoy them, while ensuring they are protected from all day sun,
and cold winds – a porch, conservatory or even hung indoors – hanging
baskets of poinsettas look great.
Poinsettias require moderately moist soil and it is best to let them
dry out between watering.
However do not let them stay without water for more than a day or
so. Check plants daily and water thoroughly whenever the soil feels dry
to the touch. Be careful not to overwater your hanging baskets or
planter – so we suggest morning watering is better than evening watering
– this way the sun will warm the soil vs. the evening when the basket
may still be damp and temperatures may drop causing stress on your
Poinsettias thrive on indirect, natural daylight -- at least six
hours a day.
Poinsetta’s prefer good morning sun, then to be in
shade in the hotter part of the day. Avoid that direct afternoon sun,
as this may fade the bract color. If direct sun cannot be avoided,
diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain. To prolong color, keep
plants out of traffic areas and protect from cold drafts and excessive
heat. Ideal temperatures are 67F to 70F during the day and 60F to 62F at
As they are subtropical plants so will wither and collapse if the
night-time temperature falls below 10 °C. So if you are hanging your
basket of poinsetta’s outside make sure you bring them into shelter if
the temperatures drop.
Poinsettias require moderately moist soil. Check
plants daily and water thoroughly whenever the soil feels dry to the
touch. Don’t allow poinsettias to sit in standing water. If the
container is wrapped with foil, remove it when watering or make a hole
in it for drainage. Discard any collected water in the drainage
A poinsettia does not require fertilization while
it is in bloom. However, to maintain green foliage and promote new
growth indoors after the holidays, apply a balanced all-purpose house
plant fertilizer once per month. Always follow the directions on the
Poinsettia’s can be difficult to induce to
re-flower after the initial display when purchased – so it is best to
think of them as an annual for your hanging baskets and planter and then
either put them into the compost or if you are lucky to live in warmer
climates you may opt to plant them outside.
The reason for the difficulty to induce
re-flowering is that poinsettia plants require a period of uninterrupted
long, dark nights for around two months in autumn in order to develop
For tips on re-flowering
visit this article.
Tip’s When Buying Poinsettias for
Your Basket or Planters
When buying your poinsettia plants:
Look for plants with plenty of green leaves down at the bottom of the
stem, this shows the plant is healthy and has not been stressed.
Pick poinsettia plants that have flower bracts and leaves that do not
look wrinkled, withered, curled, or yellow. Lack of color means the
plant was sold too early and withered leaves show signs of stress
usually due to the cold (the plant goes into shock of coming out of a
nice warm greenhouse into a cool often cold garden centre) or lack of
Observe the size and number of the colored bracts – each bloom should
have six or more bracts (flower heads).
Plants showing yellow pollen and sap will have the least amount of
display life and will not last long. Avoid plant where the leaves have
dropped and all that is left are the colorful bracts.
More Poinsettia Decorating Ideas
A hot trend with poinsettia is to pain
them – blue, orange, fuchsia, lilac, yellow, turquoise – even metallic.
These colors are actually painted on the bracts to create a unique and
more often than not visually pleasing effect.
Typically a squirt bottle is used to
spritz a premixed paint over white poinsettias.
Once the brightly painted poinsettias are
dry, many growers apply a spray adhesive to the leaves, followed by a
sprinkling of fine, colored glitter to create a shimmer effect.
Paints can be found in most craft shops,
discount stores with a floral department, or search the web for floral
supply companies. Use non - toxic spray glues for adding glitter and
colored flower paints – the ones that florists use to dress up their
If you visit a garden center this holiday
season, you might find some of these painted beauties with fancy names –
and fancy prices for the premium products. For example, Creamsicle might
be an orange-and-white poinsettia with iridescent glitter, or Happy
Hanukkah might be blue with silver glitter.
We saw a beautiful hanging basket where
the bracts had been given a silver edge, then the whole basket had been
accented with silver ribbon – the red and silver basket looked
Whether these fancy poinsettias are a
passing fad or a new tradition, one thing for sure is they’re hot
holiday horticulture. And at the very least, these pretty plants offer
us another option in holiday décor!