A few years ago, we had a Christmas tree as the only plant for the New Year and Christmas, but times go by – traditions are changing. It is not uncommon for red poinsettias to appear in our homes for the New Year. It’s probably good that beautiful traditions are taking root in our country as well.
Christmas Star, or Poinsettia. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Friends of Balboa Park
Euphorbia is most beautiful, or Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) Is a plant of the genus Euphorbia of the Euphorbiaceae family. The homeland of the plant is tropical Mexico and Central America.
The Christmas Legend of Poinsettia
There are many legends about why poinsettia is called the Christmas star and they are all beautiful – here is just one of them.
In a small Mexican village on Christmas Eve, people were preparing for the holiday in honor of the birth of the infant Christ. The whole village took part in the preparation. The village church and the square in front of it were festively decorated. Even the children helped by making gifts that would be given to the baby Jesus at Christmas.
Little Maria was also preparing. She lived in a poor family, her mother worked as a weaver, and they could not afford anything extra. Mary decided to give baby Jesus a beautiful blanket made by her own hands. In secret from her mother, Maria decided to use her loom, but she still did not know how to use the loom and tangled the threads and her beautiful blanket was hopelessly ruined.
The little girl was heartbroken because she did not have a gift to Jesus like other children. How will she go to the procession without a present? What will she put at the cradle of the baby Christ?
Christmas Eve has come. The villagers gathered in the square in front of the church. Everyone around was happy, everyone had gifts, they shared their joy and discussed who and what will give. Everyone was ready to bring their gift to Christ. Everyone except Mary, who was hiding in the shadows, watching with tears in her eyes, as the procession began to the church. People walked with gifts, lighted candles and sang songs.
“I don’t have a gift for baby Jesus,” Mary sniffled softly, “I tried to make something beautiful, but instead I ruined everything.” Suddenly Maria heard a voice. She looked around and saw only a bright star in the sky; it seemed to float and shine over the village church. Was the star talking to her?
“Mary,” she heard the voice again, “baby Jesus will love everything that you give, because it comes from your heart. Love is what makes any gift special. “
Maria wiped away her tears and came out of the shadow in which she was hiding. Nearby, she noticed tall green weeds. She quickly broke twigs from the bush, covering them under an apron. Then she ran down to the church.
By the time Mary arrived at the church, the candles were burning brightly and the choir was singing. People walked down the aisle carrying their gifts to the Christ child. Padre Francesco put the figurine of the baby Jesus in the manger, around which the gifts of other children were laid out.
Maria got scared when she saw all these people dressed in beautiful clothes – she was dressed so badly. She tried to slip behind one of the large columns, but Padre Francesco saw her.
“Maria, Maria,” he called out to her, “Hurry, girl, come in, bring your gift!”
Maria was terrified. She wondered, “Is it right to run away? Should I go forward? “
Padre noticed her fear and asked her more gently: “Mary, come here and look at the baby Jesus. There is still free space for one more gift. “
When Mary came to her senses, she found that she was already walking down the main aisle of the church.
“What is Maria hiding under her apron? – the villagers whispered, – Where is her gift? “
Padre Francesco came out from behind the altar and went with Maria to the manger. Maria bowed her head, said a prayer, then lifted her apron so that the weeds she collected would fall out.
The people in the church gasped, “Look! Look at these glorious flowers! “
Maria opened her eyes. She was amazed. Each branch of the weed was now topped with a fiery and bright red star.
The miracle happened not only in the church, but also outside its walls. Every weed that Maria had picked was now strewn with bright red stars.
So Mary’s love worked a miracle.
About caring for poinsettia
Poinsettia needs bright, but diffused light. This flower should be kept away from strong sun and drafts. The minimum temperature is -13 .. -15 ° C. Care must be taken when transporting poinsettia from the store, as the cold outside temperature can damage the foliage. Wrap the top of the foliage with paper right in the store, or place the plant in a plastic bag.
Sometimes poinsettia (the most beautiful euphorbia) begins to wither at home. This may be due to the fact that the plant was stored in cold conditions. Unfortunately, you will hardly be able to save the plant in this case. Therefore, it is recommended to buy plants only from trusted sellers.
Lack of water, like too much water, can be bad for plant growth. Watering the poinsettia is necessary when the surface of the soil begins to dry out. In a humid environment, the plant blooms longer, so spray the plant regularly. Once a month, the poinsettia needs to be fed with nitrogen and potassium.
How to make poinsettia bloom next Christmas?
In April, the plant must be pruned to 10 centimeters. Plant her outdoors. The place should not be too sunny. A temperature of +15 .. +18 ° C is ideal.
Poinsettia begins to bloom only with short daylight hours, which are in December and January. Therefore, in November, the plant should be placed in a dark room and protected from artificial light sources.
In order for the poinsettia to bloom, it is necessary to provide it with a temperature of +18 ° C. Make sure the room where the flower is located is not too cold.