The History of Poinsettias

The History of Poinsettias

Pretty soon the Poinsettia plant (that’s poinset-tee-ah) will be everywhere you go.  Shopping centers, your co-worker’s desk, at home on your coffee table.  Deep red, pretty pink, creamy white, these plants go hand-in-hand with the holidays.  More of them are sold than any other potted flower in America, which is impressive considering their six-week availability, and are the second-best selling plant in the U.S. just behind the orchid.  With more than $200 million in sales every holiday season, how did this come to be?

Native to Central America, Poinsettias can be traced back to the Aztecs where they were used to dye clothing and for medicinal purposes.  They were also used in religious ceremonies since the Aztecs considered the color red a symbol of purity.  The plant may have remained an Aztec staple for years if it hadn’t been for Joel Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico.  A trained doctor, his true love was botany.  While on a visit to the Taxco area in 1828, he fell in love with the beautiful red blooms.  He immediately sent the flowers back to his home and greenhouses in South Carolina.

After growing them successfully, he began giving them to friends as gifts.  Through his network of recipients, the flower eventually made its way to the Philadelphia flower show.  They were first sold as cut flowers and eventually were marketed as potted plants and whole plants for landscaping services.  The Ecke family from Southern California were the first to mass market the plants and still remains one of the largest producers of the plants in the USA.

Poinsettias come in a variety of sizes and colors, from your traditional 7” desk plant to larger floor sizes and even stunning trees.  Use them to decorate your home or office and to give as gifts.  Let us know if we can provide these beautiful plants for your work space during this holiday season.  We’re always available to facilitate a walk-through of your space and provide a free estimate of our services.  You can reach us at 240-531-2066 or

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