Poinsettia - How do you say that?

Selecting, transporting and caring for a Christmas poinsettia is a garden project because it is not the same as buying a bar of soap. You need to know how to pick a healthy plant and how to get it safely home without subjecting it to damage from the cold, particularly here in New England where the weather so unpredictable.

It's important to know where to place it in your home and how to water it properly and care for it in order to maintain its health and vigor over the festive season.

But before we get to the nitty gritty of all this, there is a more fundamental question on the minds of people (well at least for our customers): What is the proper way to pronounce the word poinsettia? Is it poinsett-ee-ah or poinsett-uh?

Does it help to know that the reason this particular plant has become such an iconic symbol of Christmas is that back in 1825 the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, fell in love with the plant, which is native to that part of the world, and took it back up north to Carolina? Not many years later, the Ecke Co. in California made a killing by learning how to hybridize and propagate poinsettias in the tens of thousands.

Did that help you work out your pronunciation? No, I thought not.

OK, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary says poinsettia can be pronounced either way: poinsett-ee-ah or poinsett-uh.

Oxford English says no, no, no, it is most definitely poinsett-ee-ah.

Merriam-Webster, the U.S. dictionary, only adds to the confusion by adding an extra "t" and insisting it be pronounced point-sett-uh.

How do we say it here at Carey's Flowers? Poinsett-uh(period). End of story. Let me add we have been here for almost 100 years, so I think you should all respect your elders and say it our way. This subject makes me laugh almost as hard as the Gerbera and Hydrangea mess Miss Martha created. So in the end don't take it too seriously and ....Just order from Carey's Flowers no matter how you say it - we'll get the point (pun intended)

Millions of poinsettias are sold in North America every year. Red is still the color of choice and the No. 1 best-seller. Designer poinsettias (with soft pinks and creamy white bracts) are also popular. Tri-color pots featuring three colors - red, pink and white - are the hottest trend at the moment at the big shows in the big city's, but here in good old New England where tradition is still king - Red is still the color of choice.

Punky poinsettias (with white speckles or crinkly rosette-like leaves) are the least popular, but growers still cultivate them as a novelty item and to give consumers more selection.

"Nothing says Christmas like a red poinsettia,"

Hard to believe, perhaps, but there are as many as 100 varieties of poinsettias in cultivation. Cortez Red, Freedom Red and Sonora Red are three of the most successful varieties. Bestselling whites are Cortez White, Freedom White and Whitestar.

Well my goal was to get at least a post a day out on Holiday topics........I'm already thinking that was too lofty a goal. Wish me well!

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