It’s no myth that the poinsettia is one of the most popular plants of the holiday season—and, often, one of the most misunderstood. The poinsettia, native to Mexico and now cultivated in areas around the world, is most familiar to consumers as a small potted plant, with bright red petals, a perfect accompaniment to holiday decorations. They’d be surprised, no doubt, to see these beauties reaching up to 6 feet, and sporting not only bright red color, but pink, cream, green and even marbled color combinations. They’d be even more surprised that many of the things they’ve heard about poinsettias may not be true at all.

So, what rumors are true or false about this lovely plant? Check out the answers below.

Rumor: Poinsettias are toxic – False! A few million people purchase poinsettias each holiday season, some with the belief that they must be kept away from children or pets, because they are poisonous. This is a false, but very persistent myth. Poinsettias are not toxic, though those that do eat them may experience some gastrointestinal distress.

Rumor: The poinsettia blooms once and then it’s done – False! Many people get potted poinsettias from their local florists at holiday season, then throw them out after the first of the years, believing their time is done. This is not necessarily true. Poinsettias can be made to bloom again—but it takes time, care and a bit of work, especially because achieving that bright red color requires them to spend specific times in complete darkness, and bright light.

Rumor: The flower’s red petals are really leaves – True! It’s a little confusing, because poinsettias also have dentate leaves, which are a dark green. But the colorful petal-looking parts of the plant are also leaves, known as bracts. These absorb their color from the periods of dark, while the color gains its brilliance from the periods of light. The paler varieties of the plant have likely just be subjected to varying amounts of light and darkness, thus giving holiday consumers a variety from which to choose.

For answers to more questions or concerns about poinsettias, check with one of the local florists in BloomNation.com’s floral marketplace. Poinsettias don’t simply have to sit in a pot—a look through the unique designs created by our florists will give a whole new appreciation of the imagination and creativity of top floral designers.

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