By John Auwaerter
Ah… the holiday season. Nothing gives you a more joyful and merry feeling than hearing Christmas music on the radio, twinkling lights, and beautiful holiday decorations. Oh, and how could I forget our favorite Christmas icon… the Poinsettia!
As a 4th generation greenhouse grower, I’ve had the pleasure of growing up alongside Poinsettias my entire life and like many of you their arrival each year invokes nostalgic memories of Christmas past. At Bayport Flower Houses, year after year, we grow our Poinsettias right here in Bayport after we receive them as cuttings (young plants with a few roots) each July. So right about when everyone is busy soaking up the sunshine at the beach, our Christmas crop has just kicked off it’s 24-30 week journey to bloom into the holiday decoration you see today.
Native to Central America, poinsettias are the namesake of former congressmen Joel Poinsett, the first U.S Ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the festively colored shrub to the States during a visit back home in the late 1820s. In the years following, he gifted them to his friends and family, sparking the tradition we carry to this day. “Why is a sub-tropical plant our staple Christmas plant?” you ask. Well it’s all about bloom time. While every Poinsettia starts off green regardless of the variety, their foliage transitions to its full vibrant color just in time for the start of our holiday season. Though Poinsettias give off the appearance of a “flower”, those beautiful colors are actually a Bract, or modified leaf. And over the years, they’ve come a long way!
If I were to ask my grandfather what Poinsettias looked like, he would say “They’re mostly red with some white colored ones available.” Ask me, and I'd tell you we now have about any variation you could imagine from bright pinks, to peach, to cream, to pure white and multiple shades of red in between. Growing and selling our plants locally, without having to ship them, allows them to fully mature into the larger, fuller, and healthier product you recognize around town all season. To see what I mean check out the Gazette’s gallery of some of our most popular options below and stop into our greenhouses to be introduced to the full range of our poinsettia crop. We look forward to seeing you in our store and sharing our multiple generations of Poinsettia knowledge with you all!
Have a happy holiday season!
Bayport Flower Houses Inc
Helpful Care Tips for keeping your poinsettias looking beautiful all winter long:
Keep indoors (65 to 72 degrees) near a window with bright light (south facing is best). Water with a heavy soaking once a week. Be sure to keep away from any drafty windows.
Photos by Kate Berube