December 12, 2016

poinsettiaThe poinsettia is the most popular holiday plant this time of year. They come in an array of different colors from pink, blue, purple, white, orange, even multi-colored but are traditionally red. You’ve seen these beautiful plants in every supermarket from November to December but they mysteriously disappear after New Year’s Day.

Many people toss them, knowing they will buy new ones next year. Others will attempt but fail to keep up with the 12 hours of dark that is required to alter the color on the bracts (bracts are the leaf-like structures that change colors). However, may fortunate and/or skilled gardeners will nurture their plants keeping them alive all year allowing them to grow to 10-feet tall, enjoying their colorful autumnal bloom.


Native to southern Mexico, poinsettias were originally used by the Aztecs for dye and medicinal purposes. The plant was introduced to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who brought the plant back to South Carolina in 1828. He began propagating and dispersing the plant amongst his friends. By 1836, the plant gained the common name poinsettia. In honor of Joel Poinsett, December 12th has been titled National Poinsettia Day, marking his passing and honoring his botanical achievements.


Poinsettias are not poisonous, however, those with latex allergies or sensitivities might want to avoid the sap, which contains latex (check it out, latex is a natural product). What you should be concerned about are pets and children. It is not edible, and those with cats, dogs, horses, cows and birds should proceed with caution when this plant is around their animals.


Don’t throw your poinsettia away. This seasonal plant can bloom until March, and then be saved until next November when it will bloom all over again.  Check out UF/IFAS for tips on how to care for your poinsettia through the holiday season and beyond.

Happy National Poinsettia Day!







When the more northern regions of the United States turn white with a blanket of snow, Florida turns orange from winter citrus production. During the 2007-2008 season, Florida accounted for 70 percent of the nation’s citrus production. This is an impressive accomplishment considering Florida’s experience with citrus diseases such as canker, greening and black spot. In order to keep Florida at the top of the nation’s citrus production, DPI works to keep citrus and citrus producers safe from diseases.

Many Floridians ship citrus fruits to their friends and family from their backyards or local groves during the holidays. Because Florida is battling citrus diseases, the USDA and FDACS/DPI are regulating the movement of citrus within and outside of the state.

USDA Certificate for Citrus Fruit Shipment

In order to ship backyard citrus fruit out of state, homeowners should take their fruit to a commercial packinghouse certified by the USDA to decontaminate their fruit. All citrus fruit crossing the state line (in plane, train, car, by mail, etc.) must be accompanied by a USDA certificate. Fruit can be shipped freely within the state of Florida.

It is important to note that citrus fruit purchased from grocery stores still has to go through the same decontamination process as backyard citrus fruit, which means it still must be accompanied by a USDA certificate in order to leave the state. If you are interested in buying gift fruit from a business to send, make sure your fruit will be shipped with the USDA certificate from the business.

Also, please note that no citrus trees or citrus plant parts (excluding fruit) can be moved across state lines by mail or any mode of transportation.

There are six commercial packinghouses certified by the USDA to decontaminate homegrown fruit. Their contact information is below. If you have any questions, please contact our Citrus Helpline at 888-397-1517, or e-mail us at dpi-blog@doacs.state.fl.us.

A.W. Crisafulli Groves (Brevard)
5515 N Courtenay Parkway
Merritt Island, FL  32953-7223
321-452-8100, 800-683-6700
Details: Minimum of ½ bushel (4 gallons)

 May Groves (N. Brevard)
1885 US Hwy 1 North
Titusville, FL  32796
Contact: Barry Gainer 

Neukom Groves, Inc. (Pasco)
5409 Gall Blvd,
Zephyrhills, FL  33542-3929
Fax 813-788-2048 

Poinsettia Groves (Indian River)
1481 US Hwy 1
Vero Beach, FL  32960
Contact: Jeb Hudson 

The Mail Center (N. Brevard)
3206 S Hopkins Ave
Titusville, FL  32780

The Orange Shop (Marion)
PO Box 125
Citra, FL  32113-0125

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