It has been a tradition at Orange Coast College for the Horticulture students and volunteers to produce beautiful poinsettias for the season.
They are grown and nurtured in our very own greenhouses. It is direct from these greenhouses we invite you to purchase beautiful poinsettias.
The proceeds from this sale are used to fund Horticulture student projects.
Our most popular 6-1/2” pots have three plants instead of the usual one, making them florist grade poinsettias. In addition, we are offering you poinsettias in 4-1/2” pots, 12” bowls, and 6-1/2” centerpieces. We stock the traditional royal red poinsettias and creamy white poinsettias. In addition, we have Winter Rose that has red ruffled bracts; Monet with pink sprinkled bracts; and Ice Punch with a burst of white splashes; for a unique holiday look.
POINSETTIA CARE TIPS
DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day.
DO provide room temperatures of at least 68-70 degrees F.
DO water your plants thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch.
DO use a large roomy shopping bag to protect your plants when transporting them.
DO fertilize your plants after the blooming season with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.
DON'T place plants near cold drafts or excessive heat.
DON'T expose your plants to temperatures below 50 degrees.
DON'T allow plants to sit in standing water.
DON'T expose your plants to chilling winds when transporting.
DON'T fertilize your plants when they are in bloom.
TIPS TO RE-BLOOM YOUR POINSETTIA
- When the poinsettia's bracts age and lose their aesthetic appeal, there's no reason to throw it out. With proper care, dedication, and a certain amount of luck, you too can re-bloom your poinsettia!
- By late March or early April, cut your poinsettia back to about 8" in height. Continue a regular watering program, and fertilize your plant with a good, balanced all-purpose fertilizer. By the end of May, you should see vigorous new growth.
- Place your plants outdoors, where they can bask in the warmth of spring and summer, after all, the chance of frost has passed and night temperatures average 55° F or above. Continue regular watering during the growth period and fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks.
- Pruning may be required during the summer to keep plants bushy and compact. Late June or early July is a good time for this step, but be sure not to prune your plant later than September 1. Keep the plants in indirect sun and water regularly.
- Around June 1, you may transplant your poinsettia into a larger pot. Select a pot no more than 4 inches larger than the original pot. A soil mix with a considerable amount of organic matter, such as peat moss or leaf mold, is highly recommended.
The poinsettia is a photoperiodic plant, meaning that it sets bud and produces flowers as the Autumn nights lengthen. Poinsettias will naturally come into bloom during November or December, depending on the flowering response time of the individual cultivar. Timing to produce blooms for the Christmas holiday can be difficult outside of the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Stray light of any kind, such as from a streetlight or household lamps, could delay or entirely halt the re-flowering process.
Starting October 1, the plants must be kept in complete darkness for 14 continuous hours each night. Accomplish this by moving the plants to a totally dark room, or by covering them overnight with a large box. During October, November, and early December, poinsettias require 6 - 8 hours of bright sunlight daily, with night temperatures between 60 - 70° F. Temperatures outside of this range could also delay flowering.
Continue the normal watering and fertilizer program. Carefully following this regime for 8 to 10 weeks should result in a colorful display of blooms for the holiday season!
The History of the Poinsettia
The plant we know today as the poinsettia has a long and interesting history. Native to Central America, the plant flourished in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon. The Aztecs used the plant for decorative purposes but also put the plant to practical use. They extracted a purplish dye for use in textiles and cosmetics from the plant’s bracts. The milky white sap, today called latex, was made into a preparation to treat fevers.
The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825-1829) by President Madison. Poinsett had attended the medical school himself, but his real love in the scientific field was botany. (Mr. Poinsett later founded the institution which we know today as the Smithsonian Institution).
Poinsett maintained his own greenhouses on his Greenville, South Carolina plantations, and while visiting the Taxco area in 1828, he became intrigued by the brilliant red blooms he saw there. He immediately sent some plants back to South Carolina, where he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.
Among the recipients of Poinsett's work was John Bartram of Philadelphia, who gave the plant over to another friend, Robert Buist, a Pennsylvania nurseryman. Mr. Buist is thought to be the first person to have sold the plant under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima. They were first sold as cut flowers. It was only in the early 1900s that they were sold as whole plants for landscaping and pot plants. The Eckes family, German immigrants living in Los Angeles, began cultivating the red-green plant and turning it into something no one had ever seen before. They were the first to sell them as whole plants. It is thought that they became known as Poinsettia in the mid-1830s when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.
Congress honored Joel Poinsett by declaring December 12th as National Poinsettia Day, which commemorates the date of his death in 1851. The day was meant to honor Poinsett and encourage people to enjoy the beauty of the popular holiday plant.
The poinsettia is misunderstood, those big red things aren’t flower petals. Although they have a similar color to common petals, the poinsettias flashy red spread is actually made of specialized leaves known as bracts. Bracts occur just below a plant’s flower, and are usually just green, leaving the flashy job of attracting pollinators to the petals. But poinsettias don’t have petals. Instead, the plant has evolved red bracts as stand-ins for its petals. If you want to see the plant’s actual flower, look right in the middle for its little yellow, pollen-filled parts. And they don’t have to be red either. They are white, pink, or marbled.
Thank you all for your dedication and commitment to making our poinsettia sale such a success each year.