Highlighted Dates

National Poinsettia Day

Date Pattern: Every December 12th

National Poinsettia Day: Celebrating the Iconic Holiday PlantWhen December rolls around, many of us start to think about festive decorations, winter celebrations, and of course, the beloved poinsettia plant. These vibrant and ornamental plants have become synonymous with the holiday season, adding a touch of color and joy to our homes and workplaces.

But did you know that there is a whole day dedicated to these remarkable plants? On National Poinsettia Day, which falls on December 12th each year, people across the country celebrate and appreciate the beauty and significance of the poinsettia.

In this article, we will delve into the history and origin of the poinsettia, as well as explore some fascinating legends associated with this iconic holiday plant. 1) The History of Poinsettia:

The poinsettia’s history dates back to ancient times, where it was highly revered by the Aztecs and Mayans in Central America.

They called it “Cuetlaxochitl,” and considered it a symbol of purity. Legend has it that the Aztecs used the poinsettia’s vibrant red leaves to dye their fabrics and its milky white sap for medicinal purposes.

Fast forward to the 19th century, and we find ourselves in the bustling world of Joel Poinsett, the man credited with bringing the poinsettia to the United States. – Joel Poinsett: A Man with a Green Thumb

Joel Poinsett, an American diplomat and botanist, first encountered the poinsettia during his time as the Ambassador to Mexico.

Fascinated by its beauty, he decided to bring it back to his native South Carolina. Poinsett, with his green thumb, successfully cultivated the plant and began distributing it to fellow plant enthusiasts.

– The Poinsettia’s Name Change

In honor of Joel Poinsett’s contributions, the plant was eventually named after him, becoming known as the poinsettia. It didn’t take long for this exotic plant to capture the public’s attention, and the poinsettia soon gained popularity as a holiday decoration.

2) The Origin of Poinsettia:

While we now associate the poinsettia with the holiday season, its origins lie in tropical climates. The poinsettia is indigenous to Mexico, where it thrives in the wild, reaching heights of up to 16 feet.

Its natural habitat includes dry forests and deciduous tropical forests, where it provides a burst of vibrant color against the backdrop of green foliage. This tropical plant’s adaptability, combined with its ornamental properties, made it the perfect candidate to become a cherished holiday symbol.

Today, poinsettias are grown commercially in greenhouses around the world, ready to be enjoyed during the festive season. 3) Legends about Poinsettia:

No holiday would be complete without a sprinkling of legends and folklore, and the poinsettia is no exception.

Here are a few fascinating stories that have been passed down through generations:

– The Little Girl and the Poinsettia:

Legend has it that a poor Mexican girl named Pepita was devastated by her lack of a gift to present to Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve. Feeling disheartened, Pepita picked some weeds from the roadside to place at the church’s nativity scene.

Miraculously, these humble weeds transformed into stunning crimson flowers, the red leaves of the poinsettia as we know them today. – The Miracle of the Poinsettia:

Another legend tells a story of a young and devout Mexican girl named Maria.

She had nothing to offer but a handful of weeds as a gift to bring to a Christmas Eve service. As Maria laid the humble weeds at the church’s altar, a miracle happened.

The weeds blossomed into beautiful poinsettia flowers, astounding everyone present. This miracle serves as a reminder of the power of giving from the heart.


As National Poinsettia Day approaches, let us take a moment to appreciate the beauty and significance of this iconic holiday plant. From its ancient roots in Aztec and Mayan cultures to its introduction and popularity in the United States, the poinsettia has become a symbol of holiday cheer and goodwill.

Rich with history and steeped in legends, these vibrant plants continue to bring joy and festive spirit to our homes and workplaces. So, the next time you spot a poinsettia, take a moment to cherish its story and the magic it holds.

3) the Discovery of Poinsettia:

The discovery of the poinsettia is an intriguing tale with roots that trace back centuries. It all began with the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century when explorers came across this unique plant and its vibrant red leaves.

These early explorers were captivated by its beauty and quickly recognized its potential as an ornamental plant. The poinsettia, known then as “Cuetlaxochitl” to the indigenous people, became highly sought after by nobles and royalty.

One of the first recorded encounters with the poinsettia by Europeans was by Francisco Hernandez, a Spanish physician and naturalist, who accompanied an expedition led by Hernn Corts in the 1570s. Hernandez documented his findings in his book, “Rerum Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus,” in which he described the poinsettia as a standout plant with its vibrant red bracts.

However, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the poinsettia caught the attention of a man who would forever be associated with its introduction to the United States. – Joel Poinsett: A Botanical Adventurer

Joel Poinsett, an American diplomat and passionate botanist, discovered the poinsettia during his tenure as the Ambassador to Mexico from 1825 to 1830.

Poinsett had a keen interest in horticulture and was always on the lookout for unique and exotic plant specimens. When he stumbled across the poinsettia with its stunning red leaves, he was instantly captivated.

Joel Poinsett wasted no time in recognizing the potential of the poinsettia as an ornamental plant, not just in Mexico but also back in the United States. He collected samples and brought them back to his home in Greenville, South Carolina, where he cultivated them and shared cuttings with fellow plant enthusiasts.

4) Celebration of National Poinsettia Day:

National Poinsettia Day, celebrated on December 12th, provides an opportunity for plant lovers and enthusiasts to honor and appreciate this iconic holiday plant. The day is a wonderful reminder of the beauty and joy that poinsettias bring to our lives during the holiday season.

– Poinsettia Displays: A Riot of Color

One of the most delightful ways to celebrate National Poinsettia Day is by visiting the remarkable poinsettia displays that pop up in botanical gardens, nurseries, and even shopping centers. These displays showcase the tremendous variety and diversity of the poinsettia plant.

From traditional red and white varieties to unique hybrids with hues of pink, salmon, and even marbled patterns, there is a poinsettia for every taste and preference. Poinsettia displays often feature themed arrangements and creative designs.

Some displays incorporate the poinsettias into intricate holiday scenes, while others present them in imaginative shapes and patterns. The artistry and creativity behind these displays are truly awe-inspiring, making them a must-see attraction during the holiday season.

– Caring for Poinsettias: Keeping the Tradition Alive

Another way to celebrate National Poinsettia Day is by learning how to care for these beautiful plants. Poinsettias, like any living thing, have specific needs to thrive and last throughout the holiday season.

Understanding these needs and providing the right environment can help you enjoy their beauty for weeks, if not months, on end. One crucial aspect of caring for poinsettias is providing them with the appropriate lighting conditions.

Poinsettias prefer bright, indirect light and should be kept away from drafts or extreme temperatures. It’s also important to water them adequately, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings to prevent root rot.

In addition to caring for poinsettias indoors, many gardening enthusiasts take advantage of National Poinsettia Day to learn about outdoor poinsettia cultivation. With the right climate and growing conditions, poinsettias can thrive as perennial garden plants, adding a burst of color to landscapes year after year.


National Poinsettia Day provides a special opportunity for us to celebrate and appreciate the iconic holiday plant. From its discovery by explorers centuries ago to its introduction to the United States by Joel Poinsett, the poinsettia has become an integral part of our holiday traditions.

Whether we marvel at stunning poinsettia displays or learn to care for these vibrant plants ourselves, National Poinsettia Day is a time to honor their beauty and the joy they bring to our homes during the festive season. So, this December 12th, let us take a moment to rejoice in the rich history, diverse variations, and the everlasting charm of the poinsettia.

In conclusion, National Poinsettia Day is a celebration of the iconic holiday plant that brings vibrance and joy to our lives during the festive season. From its discovery by Joel Poinsett in Mexico to its popularity in the United States, the poinsettia has become deeply ingrained in our holiday traditions.

This day allows us to appreciate the rich history and significance of the poinsettia, as well as celebrate its beauty through stunning displays and learning about its care. The poinsettia serves as a reminder of the power of botanical discoveries and the joy that nature can bring to our lives.

So, this National Poinsettia Day, let us cherish the poinsettia’s remarkable journey and take inspiration from its ability to brighten our homes and hearts during the holiday season.

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