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Holiday Flowers: Keep Your Home Beautiful, Pets And Kids Safe

 A red poinsettia flower sits on a table with evergreen boughs and holiday ornaments.
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Poinsettia flowers have become a symbol of the holidays around the world, and originate as shrubs in their native Central America.

Those pretty red poinsettias adorning your holiday table actually grow as shrubs in their native Central America. These posies have become the symbol of the holidays in many countries all over the world. In this episode, we’ll learn about poinsettia varieties, how to care for them and the ever-important question: are poinsettias really poisonous?

These plants were first shared and brought to the United States in the 1800s by Joel Poinsett, a botanist and ambassador to Mexico. By the 1900s, poinsettias were grown and sold in California as potted plants.

Though the traditional color is red, poinsettias come in a rainbow of other colors, like apricot, yellow, burnt orange and even salmon. They grow into a range of different sizes.

It is the bracks - or modified leaves - that boast bright color and not flower petals themselves. With proper care, poinsettias should last in your house for a couple of months. Make sure they are in a bright room and try not to overwater.

Q: Every year at this time, I purchase an indoor amaryllis bulb-growing kit. Every year I have beautiful blooms. This year the bulb that came in the kit has some rot going on after only two weeks. I inspected the bulb and cleaned off what roots were left. Do you think it will grow or is it a lost cause? — Elaine, in Essex Junction

First, try and return the bulb to the store where you purchased it and let them know about the issue. They might replace it. Otherwise, you are doing all the right things to get it in good shape by removing the rot. Also, you could try to dust it with a bit of sulfur powder. As long as you are trimming the roots, it should form new roots and grow into a beautiful flower.

A thin grey line.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

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