What would Christmas be without the Christmas flower? Come to think about it, what would any celebration be without flowers? Most homes have a Christmas flower centerpiece, and it's usually down to the ladies to sort out all the Christmas flower arrangements. The fellas, bless them, haven't got much of a clue when it comes to flower arranging.
What springs to mind when most folks think about the traditional Christmas flower is a pot of red poinsettias. During the holiday season, you are likely to see this Christmas flower everywhere you go, from the fake displays in department store windows, to the real ones scattered throughout people’s homes. This plant with its brilliant red flowers is the ultimate Christmas foliage.
The problem with poinsettias is that they can be toxic if ingested by people and animals. And while most adults don’t go around eating floral plants, cats and children are especially susceptible to this hazard because they are naturally curious about the world. I’ve seen children eat anything from money to dust balls on the floor, so thinking that they won’t eat a plant is a little unlikely. As for cats, it is sometimes impossible for a curious feline to pass up a brightly colored flower, seeing as how their palates are so undiscerning that they will often eat their own vomit.
Having said that, I've also read that the toxicity of this Christmas flower is grossly over exaggerated, and it will give the eater nothing more than an upset stomach, just as chewing on a bunch of daffodils might. However, I'm no expert and err on the side of cautions when I see conflicting reports like this.
Anyhow, because the poinsettia is a Christmas flower, putting it outside, away from the people and animals in your home who might be tempted to ingest it is not an option. If you have small children and pets, probably the best solution is to go for an artificial poinsettia plant or just not have them in your home at all.
Though poinsettias are traditionally red in color, there are now hybrids that come in white also. This color is not traditionally thought of as a Christmas flower, but looks nice when you have a large display of poinsettias and want to mix some different colored blooms in with the usual red. I’ve seen beautiful displays of poinsettias in the mall at Christmastime that incorporate both the red and white variety of flowering plant to create a gorgeous display of Christmas blooms.
When you think of winter flowers, not many variations come to mind. After all, flowers are more of a spring thing. This is probably why the traditional Christmas flower is not pastel, but instead a rich red color that is deep and muted, like winter itself. When the heavy snow falls, and the air is cold and dark, the plants that come to mind in this kind of environment are not delicate like lilies and roses. Instead, like the mums of fall, the poinsettia, with its hearty composition and heavy leaves, live on in our minds as the perfect Christmas flower.
It's not only the Christmas flower that brings a little of the outdoors indoors, but leafy plants also. Don't forget that all important holly and ivy and not forgetting that kissing shrub, mistletoe.