You can't do better than a healthy, blooming poinsettia plant to add visual impact and curb appeal to your front porch or entry during the holidays. We've visited the world's leading poinsettia ranch, explored design and decorating ideas, and researched facts, myths and legends to bring you all you need to know about poinsettias for the holidays.
01 of 05
Bright and Beautiful Ideas for Designing With Poinsettias
As holiday decorations, poinsettias attract a different kind of attention than, say, the inflatable Santas or blow-mold candy canes like the ones two doors down. Whatever the color, shape or size, poinsettias brighten our world at Christmas and during the short, dark days of winter. They bring a natural beauty to outdoor decor: a less glitzy and more breathtaking visual display. Enjoy the design combinations and decorating ideas in this poinsettia slide show.
02 of 05
Inside the Paul Ecke Poinsettia Ranch
About halfway between downtown San Diego and the southern reaches of California's Orange County lies a nectar spot where many of the United States' top flower-growers work their magic on some of the most breathtaking blooms you'll ever see. The Ecke Ranch has been in Encinitas, California, since 1923, founder Paul Ecke Sr. cultivated the exotic flower from Mexico that had been discovered by Joel R. Poinsett in the 1800s.
Come inside the ranch, where more than 75 percent of U.S. and 50 percent of worldwide poinsettia plants get their start.
03 of 05
Is there any truth to those rumors about the poisonous properties of poinsettias? Are poinsettias really toxic -- even lethal -- to people and pets? How and where did the rumor start? From what region of the world does the poinsettia originate? And, what's up with that poinsettia cocktail? Is it safe to drink?
04 of 05
Marie Ianotti, About.com Guide to Gardening, shows determined poinsettia growers how to care for their plants month-by-month so that it will bloom the following year, preferably during the holiday season.
"It's a very fussy, exacting process," writes Ianotti. "Since the plants are not that expensive, you might just choose to start fresh next year."Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
The versatility of poinsettias in home decorating and entertaining is showcased in this slide show from Jamie McIntosh, About.com Guide to Flowers. How about a poinsettia tree? Not the actual Euphorbia shrub itself, but a Christmas tree-shaped work of art made with real poinsettias. Beautiful!