How to Prepare and Use Poinsettias as Cut Flowers
Every holiday season I get calls asking whether you can use poinsettias as cut flowers. Poinsettias are not grown for commercial cut flower use, but the colorful bracts can be removed from a poinsettia plant and used just like you would use any cut flower.
But before you can use a poinsettia as a cut flower, there is a little secret that you need to know. Once you know the secret, you can use cut poinsettias in a variety of ways.
This video clip will show you what you need to know before using poinsettias in any type of floral arrangement.
Now that you’ve seen how to properly prepare a poinsettia bract for cut flower use, I’ll bet you’re itching to try it yourself.
The fact is, most people, even some experienced designers, have never used poinsettias in their design work.
It’s likely because it does take a bit of preparation and forethought before you can successfully use them. But I for one, definitely think it’s worth the extra effort.
But before you get started, I should let you know about this, too.
Another preparation method you can use
An alternative you can use to treat a cut poinsettia bract is to spray denatured alcohol on any cuts or tears that are oozing milky sap, including the leaves. The denatured alcohol seals the cuts without blocking water absorption.
Once sprayed, place the bract in plain water with no preservative at room temperature for a period of 24 hours. If the flower is still fresh and turgid, that poinsettia bloom will last a long time, either in water or floral foam.
Actually, you’ll probably know within an hour or two whether your poinsettia is wilting, in which case you’ll need to recut and seal it again. But I strongly recommend waiting at least 24 hours before using them.
I’ve sealed poinsettia stems, using both denatured alcohol and searing them with a flame, and have had them last for up to two weeks in water.
I prefer to seal them using a candle flame, but that’s only because it’s faster and more convenient for me.
Just remember, that if you do need to recut them, you will have to go through the process again. I usually cut them to the length I need before I use them.
Ways to display your cut poinsettias
Poinsettia blooms can be used in all types of floral design work. Because of their size and star-shaped appearance, they make an awesome focal flower in any type of floral design.
It’s best to use them where they will have the most impact. Definitely, a case of “less is more”.
Around the home, they can be used in seasonal vase arrangements and bud vases, holiday centerpieces, and seasonal tablescapes.
Place them in water tubes and insert them into indoor wreaths and garlands.
We’ve also used them in sympathy flower designs and yes, even in wedding bouquets!
Here’s a pic of a cut poinsettia bloom that we floated in a shallow dish accented with sprigs of balsam and gold ribbon. The bract shown is five days old!
How to care for cut poinsettias
Once they are prepped and ready for use, poinsettia stems require pretty much the same care as other fresh flowers.
Make sure the water level is adequate in the container you’re using, and any leaves below the water level are removed.
Floral preservative should also be used, according to directions.
Are poinsettias poisonous?
This is a myth that needs to be laid to rest. As was stated in the video, poinsettias are not poisonous to people or pets if ingested, but an upset stomach might result if consumed in large quantities.
For some, the milky sap may cause skin irritation.
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Til next time,
I’m the owner of Greenfield Flower Shop in Milwaukee, with more than 40 years of experience in the floral, wedding, and event business.