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This bright and bold holiday flower comes from humble beginnings in the forests of Mexico.

December Garden Holidays

Posted November 28, 2012. Photo by Jon Stewart/ABQ BioPark.

Each December, the BioPark is filled with thousands of poinsettias and other holiday plantings. You’ll find this unusually speckled ‘Jingle Bells’ poinsettia (a Euphorbia pulcherrima cultivar) paired with snowy Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ in the hanging baskets of the Mediterranean Conservatory.

The “flowers” are actually colored leaves, or bracts, that surround the small true flowers. Wild poinsettias grow as shrubs in the forests of Mexico and have much more modest bracts when they bloom each February. Growers have been cultivating and selecting for bigger, brighter bracts for more than one hundred years.

At the BioPark, we start poinsettias from small cuttings in mid-August and carefully time the potting, pinching and pruning of the many plants. We maintain just the right temperatures and lighting to coax the plants to the height of color during the Botanic Garden’s daytime December Garden Holidays and evening River of Lights.

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