Monday, December 5, 2011

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.



  1. Love the wreaths you have on the back of the chairs! Now I am off to burn the ends of my Poinsettias...if my house burns down I am spending Christmas with you

  2. Love all your poinsettias! Thanks for hosting!

  3. I love poinsettias and my house is full of them at Christmas. As a child, I remember a neighbor picking the flowers from her very large poinsettia plant(about 6 feet tall) and burning the ends of them. Thanks for hosting!
    I love the wreaths on the back of your chairs.

  4. I'm a big fan of the contrast of the red and white together. I think that's my fav combo for the plants. But... They all look lovely!

    Thanks for hosting! This year did fly by!

  5. I adore pointsettias, and the pinks are my fave =) I'm a veterinarian, and I can't count how many times we'd get paniced phone calls about cats who ate pointsettias. They can cause mild-moderate vomiting/diarrhea, but that is in the worst cases...usually, nothing. I have them in my house each year, and I have pets =) PS, I am from Vancouver, so I think it is very cool that you have a bit of Van in your home right now =)

  6. I am SOOOO excited to hear that they are truly non-toxic! I've been without them in my home, like you, because we've always had kitties. Joy to the world! I'm getting a poinsettia this week :-) Thanks for hosting the party...I'm linking up my dining room wall!

  7. What a fun post! Thanks for the tips! I still need to buy mine. Thanks for hosting!...hugs...Debbie

  8. A supplier my husband uses has an AMAZING poinsettia they've had ever since they opened their location near us. Like 15 - 20 years. It's an amazing, exotic looking huge bush/tree like thing now. Fills a 6 ft by 6 ft area.

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  10. Your poinsettias are gorgeous, Sarah! I love the white flowers, they are my favorite! I had no idea they could last all year, mine barely make it through Christmas! LOL!!

  11. Those plants are accent color is pink this Christmas, I need to hunt down some of those pink ones!! Thanks for the fab constant refreshing paid off! ;)

  12. I have always thought they were poisonous! That's good to know.

    They are so pretty!

  13. OH my gosh. I did NOT know that they weren't poisonous. I bought a couple from a girl scout and put them up high but darn it if those things aren't going to be on my hearth tomorrow. So glad you told us!! Oh, and thanks for the party. I haven't linked up in a while so I'm happy to be here! :)

  14. Your decorations are so pretty! Thank you for hosting!

  15. I love poinsettias at Christmas! I've never tried to keep them beyond January though - I'm kind of ready for a change by then! Have a great week!
    Jenn :)

  16. I love the subtle festive touches. Your poinsettias look great in the kitchen. Thanks for hosting this very inspiring party.

  17. Just make sure you don't let the kitties eat the poinsettas! They're incredibly poisonous to cats :(

    Thanks for hostin!

  18. I just put 2 and 2 together about why all of you have been blogging about poinsettias.... Funky Junk went to lunch with the lady you first mentioned! Got it~ :) I will tell you that I was able to keep a poinsettia alive until the following October, it was the size of a bush! It planned on bringing it in for the holidays but we had one of those crazy weather days in Texas where the temp unexpectedly dropped 30 degrees during the day. They don't get red until this time of the year tho. So if yours makes it until spring stick it outside, it is fun to watch it grow. Love the tip about cutting and searing!

  19. I love poinsettias. I also love reading comments on blogs from adults who obviously have poor reading comprehension. Poinsettias are not highly toxic or poisonous to cats or kids. Read and comprehend, please.

  20. Although I avoided it like the plague last year, I really love red this year for Christmas! I never knew that about burning them, I will have to try it.

    Love your wreaths and all the simple touches, they make a big statement overall. Thanks for hosting, Sarah! :)

  21. I've been wanting to use cut poinsettias, thanks for letting me know how to make it work!!! I love your Christmas decor, not over the top, just perfect. Oh,and thanks for hosting the party! :)

  22. Ahh, I'm so silly! Thanks so much for the article about the toxicity of the poinsettias- now I can stop corralling my cat away from the flowers like a sheepdog! I feel like you just blew my mind. Thanks!

  23. Thanks for such a great party. I look forward to it each month. I linked a handful of items... :)

  24. Love all of those poinsettias! Thank you so much for hosting!
    Vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things}

  25. Home decor ideas appeal us as we all crave to beautify our homes.There are great home decor websites which it is always wonderful to go for home decor online shopping as these online fashion stores have great range of home decor products which enhance the beauty of rooms and beds.

  26. Love the white ones best! Be careful of your white rug though, mine sometimes seem to drop little sappy bits around the floor under the pot.

  27. I love poinsettias and the only reason I know that they hate the cold is from Frosty the Snowman movie!! :) Love those wreaths on the chairs!

  28. I love the evergreens over your windows.

  29. You taught me so much in this post! I love poinsettias. Yours are so full & pretty. I haven't bought any yet this year because I'm lucky if I can keep them alive until Christmas, much less the entire year! The red are my favorite but I like the white a lot too. The red looks absolutely gorgeous in the white pot. I may have to steal that idea!

  30. I love all the vases you chose to put them in and the party in the back - ha! Thanks for hosting!!

  31. It's a myth?! That's FANTASTIC! I thought I was cornered to a life without poinsettas - hooray!

    Also, I'm from Vancouver Island so I think it's pretty cool that you got plants from Vancouver.

  32. The colors of your poinsettias are how you put them in different pots you already had-way to be resourceful!

  33. Thanks for the tips! mine always die :( Hopefully this year will fare better!

  34. Great info on poinsettia's! Love that little caddie deal you have with the sugar and syrup tucked inside....where would I find something like that??? Thanks

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  36. Love the post! The red is so vibrant and looks great! I can never get my poinsettias to live very long, so I bailed on the idea this year. After seeing your pics, I'll be rethinking that! Thanks for the tips! Have a great holiday!

  37. Very pretty. And a good idea for the cats is to have cat grass available for them, especially indoor only cats. Put a pot of grass near the food dish. I buy mine in the organic produce section of Albertson grocery store and others will have it. Might be labeled Wheat grass. Cats need grass.

  38. Thanks so much for this post! I have been looking for inspiration for a great post-Christmas filler for my mantle trough (also your project). By the way that trough is such an awesome idea, not to mention the distressing part was thoroughly "de-stressing" he he he. For Christmas I turned it upside down and laid a fun lighted greenery swag on top. You're the best!!

  39. Thanks for sharing that bit of information about poinsettias, I never understood why they use to wither when I tried clipping them. My favorites are the white & traditional red.

  40. Ahhh your mantel looks so wonderful! The before was beautiful (I do love that green S) but the after - gorgeous! Especially those Ikea lanterns (and I can't forget the little stuffed Santa - so sweet). I always love your posts, keep 'em coming!

  41. Everything is so pretty!

    I hate to ask you this, but I have a kitchen table very similar to yours and am trying to found a round rug to go under it. Can I ask where you got yours?


  42. Oh, great post! I consider your blog to be the most useful for preparing to Christmas! It is so informative, so great! thanks for your big work!

  43. I just seared a stem. Do you leave it in a vase of water like a normal flower? I'm confused since I usually kill mine and normal poinsettas are potted in soil :( Would love to hear how your separate stems are doing. Thanks!


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