December Before and After: Poinsettias!

Hello! Can you believe it? The final Before and After Party of the year? It’s blowing my mind how fast the year went. As I get older they just go faster and faster. Not sure I’m happy about that. :)

This month I’m sharing some simple before and afters of a lovely little holiday plant you may have heard of…the poinsettia.

I have long loved this holiday plant, but have NEVER purchased one for our home. I have a friend who gets a few every year, and I have always been jealous of her bright red beautiful flowers.

You see, we’ve had cats as long as I’ve lived, and I had always heard poinsettias were toxic for animals. And then…35 years into life, I found out earlier this year that it’s a myth. I gotta say, I felt a bit cheated for all those years I didn’t get any for fear my cats would keel over.

When I found that out, I knew I would have to get some this holiday season, and then the stars aligned when the dear Tamara contacted me and and a few other bloggers.

Tamara and her husband own a greenhouse in Vancouver, BC, Canada and grow 180,000 poinsettias yearly. Wowza!!

How awesome is that? Needless to say, she’s an expert on the subject of poinsettias.

I was thrilled when the folks at Ball Horticulture in Chicago provided me with a few poinsettias to use this holiday season:

I got two Polar Bear Whites, one Mars Pink and one Christmas Season Red. They were hand delivered to my door and I was giddy when they arrived!

I had grand plans to incorporate them into some vignettes, but to tell you the truth, they’re too big and beautiful to fit well into the spaces I have to work with. I ended up just using them alone here and there and I gotta tell you, I think that does them justice. :)

I’m not really a pink girl, but the Mars Pink plant is SO pretty. I put her (yes, her) in a simple white pot near the Christmas tree:

pink poinsettia

That white pot used to have a fern in it – the ferns were doing fine, but the cats would NOT STOP eating them. It was driving me mad, so I only have one left and it’s where they can’t get to it. Grrr…

I wanted to house each one in something a bit different, but use what I already had around the house. I found an awesome ceramic container at Goodwill a few months ago and thought the Polar Bear White would look fab in it…and it does:

white poinsettia

It looks like it was meant to be in my office! LOVE the white leaves with the blue ceramic! This is one that will stay up all year (if I can keep them alive!!).

The Christmas Red one is my absolute fave though – I am all about the contrast of the deep red leaves with a white pot from IKEA:

red poinsettia ikea pot

I LOVE the look of the traditional poinsettia mixed with the modern white container.

I loved the pop of red in the kitchen so much, I decided to use it on the table too. I wanted to cut the flowers to use in the centerpiece, but when I did the first one, it wilted like crazy. Then my friend Beth mentioned that you have to sear them with a candle flame. I had no idea!

She said:

“Searing will stop the milk sap from leaking out of the plant while still allowing the stems to absorb water. When you break off a poinsettia leaf or stem hold the area excreting sap over a candle flame until it bubbles and sears the area. It will turn black in the areas where you do this, but it won’t detract from your decorating. You will know if you seared the stems correctly based on their post perk or droop. If your poinsettias begin to wilt in your vase, try searing the stem once again and return them to water. Also, you shouldn’t see a milky stream in the water. The water should remain clear.”

Did you know that? I had no idea! I did it just how she described and so far so good! I placed a couple cuts in each little bottle I keep in the kitchen centerpiece:

searing poinsettia stems

I love how full and pretty these are – you don’t need many to make a BIG statement. Now my little caddy that holds our sugar and syrup is all business in the front:

Party in the back:

decorating with poinsettias

;) I couldn’t resist.

The pops of red on the counter and table look so great with my little wreaths that I hang from the backs of the chairs:

I used to go hog wild with the Christmas decor in the kitchen. I’ve been toning it down a little every year, but it looks just as festive:

poinsettia kitchen

Little pops of Christmas are just as powerful, believe me! :)

I can’t get enough of red this time of year. Love it!!

So there’s my before and after for this month – the beautiful poinsettias in their plain Jane containers before:


And the afters!:

I didn’t even replant them by the way, just dropped them in. Easy peasy SQUEEZY.

Fun little facts about poinsettias:

* Did you know they HATE cold? I found that so interesting, considering we mainly see them in the winter.

* You can keep them all year round. Check out this article for a bunch of great tips. One of the ladies I used to work with would tend to the poinsettias we got every season and keep them alive all year!

* I know I already mentioned it, but I think it’s worth reminding that they are NOT toxic. (See this article for more info.) Our cat has already nibbled a few times (even though they are supposed to taste AWFUL, he’s so weird), and he’s just fine. I hear the taste deters any animal (or human) from trying them more than once. ;) If you have any hesitation about it, just keep them up high away from your animals and kiddos.

I for one, am THRILLED that we get to welcome these pretties into our home every Christmas season now!

Do you buy a poinsettia every year? Any luck keeping them going all year?

Now I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to! Link up your posts below, and If you could, I’d love it if you would link back to this post and/or use this pretty button:beforeAndAfterButton

Disclosure: I was given four poinsettia plants for this post. All photos and opinions expressed are my own.


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