In 1828, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, could never have imagined the impact he'd have on the holidays by simply bringing back a local plant to the United States.
Poinsettias are named after Joel and are the top-selling flower around Christmas. While the poinsettia is a shrub in its native Mexico with lots of different colored varieties, 80% of the poinsettias sold are red. But that's changing with new varieties coming out yearly.
To shake up your holiday decorations, look for some of these new poinsettia varieties. One showstopping variety is called Ice Punch. It has cranberry pink bracts, or leaves, with a splash of white in the center. Red Glitter is a red variety with flecks of white all over the leaves. Oh, and those glittery blue or gold poinsettias you see in stores, they're painted and the artificial glitter is added later.
For poinsettias of a different color, try Autumn Leaves. It has red- to orange-colored leaves. Winter Rose Marble has double ruffled leaves with white- and rose-colored bracts. Viking Cinnamon is a pure rose-colored variety. Princettia Hot Pink is a flashy pink type. Golden Glow looks like a warm eggnog color. And Polar Bear has a creamy white leaves.
Whatever variety you select, grow poinsettias in a cool room with bright indirect light. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Avoid cold drafts. Once the holidays are over, the poinsettias will hold their leaves for months. Come spring, simply compost them. They're too hard to get to regrow and change their leaf colors again for next Christmas.