I have a love – hate relationship with poinsettias, that ubiquitous festive pot plant, and I suspect I’m not the only one. I just hated them when I was younger, then I saw them growing wild in the Himalayas and suddenly I could see their good side. These striking plants are really meant to grow much larger than the stunted specimens we use to decorate out homes at Christmas – the ones I saw were like small trees, their rosy bracts looking like a flock of crimson birds.
They may look perfectly comfortable growing on the hillsides of Kalimpong but these plants are native to sunny Mexico, so to keep them looking good there are two golden rules; keep them in a constant temperature away from draughts and don’t over water them, let the soil begin to dry out and then water thoroughly, draining well.
Nearly 80% of all poinsettias sold at Christmas are red (no surprise there) with the remainder being pink, white, cream, orange and a range of fancy variegations. What colour will you choose this year?