Bracts are the red flower-like petals you might find on a poinsettia, but they are specialized leaves. Look closely at the center of the bracts, and you will see small flowers. Poinsettias are in the Euphorbia family related to succulent euphorbias.
Poinsettias thrive in bright, sunny locations and need at least six hours of sunlight daily. An indoor location is recommended, as they prefer temperatures between 65- 70 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in the summer. They do like moist conditions, so water thoroughly when the soil is dry. Fertilize periodically using a balanced plant fertilizer after the holiday season to promote growth. If grown outdoors during the winter months, they will need to be covered with frost cloth as they are sensitive to cold temperatures. To induce blooming year after year, they must be exposed to complete darkness for 14 hours every night.
Every year during Las Noches de las Luminarias, the Garden’s horticulture staff sets up a magical display of poinsettias in the form of a Christmas tree with 145 poinsettias that take a full day to set up.. The holiday arrangement is decorated with dozens of poinsettias that are maintained and cared for by horticulture staff. The tradition is a way to showcase the beauty of the holidays with botany.
Make sure to check out Las Noches de las Luminarias on select dates December 1-31. Garden members-only weekend runs Dec. 1-4. Purchase your tickets here.