Nothing says Christmas like a gorgeous red poinsettia plant. Unless it's a pink one. Or a bunch of miniature white ones. No matter what variety and color you choose (there are dozens) the poinsettia has come to symbolize Christmas and the holiday season like no other (sorry, holly and ivy).
But, even though they've become an iconic part of the holiday decor, you can still get creative with how you use poinsettias. So here are some clever ways to work these inexpensive plants into your decorating this year.
Place around the room at eye level. Poinsettias are so eye-catching and colorful, they do the decorating work for you. If you're pressed for time, you can transform a living room simply by setting a few plants on a mantel or bookshelf for an eye-popping burst of holiday cheer.
Go low. Setting poinsettias strategically on the floor brightens a room and gives you an unexpected focal point. Experiment with what feels fun and funky; try placing plants in clusters of three or five in corners, or in a straight line along a single wall. If you have a non-functioning fireplace, set a few plants inside the firebox or along the hearth. Add a few cream-colored candles for a cozy Christmas look.
Or, put poinsettias somewhere completely unexpected. Place poinsettias around the house – a cluster on the bathroom counter, tucked high on a kitchen shelf, or even in your utility room. (Who says you can't enjoy the Christmas spirit while you're doing laundry?)
Build a tower of flowers. For a dramatic look that's super-easy to achieve, drape a step stool or ladder with a white sheet, and set poinsettia pots on each step (way cheaper than buying a pre-made poinsettia tree rack). Because the colorful leaves spread out so beautifully, you don't have to be an expert floral artist to achieve a drop-dead gorgeous effect.
Use poinsettias as cut flowers. A single bract (the term for the group of leaves that looks like a flower) looks elegant in a vase. Or, you can incorporate cut poinsettias into arrangements with other flowers and greenery. Make sure they get plenty of water, and if you're placing in a wreath, use floral picks (water-filled tubes) to keep them fresh. The cut plant can last up to two weeks if you keep it away from extreme heat or cold.
Cut off a few “flowers" and make a low centerpiece. Poinsettias can be a bit tall for a holiday table (who wants to peer around a plant to have a conversation?). But if you snip off a few of the bracts, you get the effect without the height. Try bright red or pink plants on a rectangular white plate for a dramatic look. Or, go modern with a mirrored surface, adding a few snippets of evergreen or holly. Another idea: Float a few bracts in water for a sophisticated look.
Decorate the pot. The shiny foil wrap around a poinsettia pot can feel ho-hum, so jazz up your plants with a few oh-so-simple accessories. (Hint: These are easy cold-weather projects for kids.) One idea: Wrap a big plaid bow around the bottom. Or, tape a few swaths of Christmas paper around the pot for a kitschy look. Little kids will love to decorate the foil with fun holiday stickers.
Use quirky accessories. Not afraid to mix traditional with the out-there? Let your imagination be your guide and arrange poinsettias in unusual containers, like a small wheelbarrow, wagon, or kids' tricycle, placed in your living or dining room. Feel free to mix and match the colors.