Okay, this isn’t the most glorious looking poinsettia you’ve ever seen but what if I told you this is its third year blooming–and it’s blooming here in July?
So what does that say about these plants? First, that you don’t have to put them in dark closets or under a box to get them to bloom–you can see that this one is sitting on a file cabinet in my office.
Next, that they are so much more than the finicky plants that we buy at the holidays and then discard. They actually grow into shrubs in tropical countries like Mexico and central America (so, no putting them in closets or putting boxes over them there, clearly).
So that’s myth number one–that poinsettias need to be kept in artificial darkness to rebloom.
The next myth gets us toxicity–a subject I touched on with respect to children and pets on Monday. While it’s just never a good idea to eat any plant unless you’re sure of its consumability (there are a few truly toxic plants out there–I even own some!) poinsettias are not toxic. They may give you a stomach ache–but they won’t kill you.
And despite all sorts of articles all over the web from completely reputable sources (here ite all sorts of articles all over the web from completely repurable sources (here ite all sorts of articles all over the web from completely repurable sources (here is one from the Poison Control Center, for example) this myth persists.
In fact, I would have to say that it is second only to hydrangea questions for me. Again, if I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, “Oh, I can’t have a poinsettia, because I have a dog/cat/child,” I wouldn’t be posting about this, I would own a place on a warm sunny island where I would no longer worry about poinsettias or winter!
If fact, if you don’t want to believe the poison control center, perhaps you’d prefer what doctors at the Mayo Clinic have to say about poinsettias. Again, they can cause mild irritation, some stomach upset, a skin rash–but then again, so can any plant in the euphorbia family.
And as we know, lots of plants, such as the dreaded poison ivy, can do far worse to those susceptible to its oils.
So please, people, let us stop the craziness. And if you like these plants, please buy them and enjoy.