Can you imagine a holiday season without plants? We can’t! Big thanks to the growers and nurseries out there for making our Christmas special each and every year. Here are some fun facts you may not know about our favorite holiday greenery.
- Poinsettias remain the highest selling potted flowering plant in the US with 34 million sold each year.
- Poinsettias account for $144 million out of a total of $618 million in sales of all flowering potted plants.
- The top five poinsettia-producing states include California with 6 million pots grown, followed by North Carolina with 4.4 million and Texas with about 3.7 million. Florida and Ohio each produce more than 3 million poinsettias.
- More than 350 million Christmas trees are currently growing on 15,000 farms in the U.S.
- There are more than 4,000 local Christmas Tree recycling programs throughout the United States.
- The top Christmas Tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.
- There are more than 1,000 species of mistletoe worldwide—the continental United States and Canada are home to more than 30 species.
- The genus name of North America’s oak mistletoe is Phoradendron, Greek for “tree thief.” This is fitting since they are parasites.
- Trees infested with mistletoe die early because of the parasitic growth, but dead trees become useful to nesting birds and mammals.
- Citrus production for the 2018-19 season in the US neared 8 million tons. California accounts for 51 percent of US citrus production followed by Florida at 44 percent, and Texas and Arizona at 5 percent.
- Amaryllis gets its name from Greek Mythology.
- The U.S. imports more than 10 million amaryllis bulbs every year, mainly from Holland and South Africa.
- Plant breeders have developed more than 600 named varieties of Amaryllis.
- Usage of rosemary dates back to 500 B.C., when it was used as a culinary and medicinal herb by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
- In the middle ages it was traditional to spread rosemary on the floor of the home at Christmas.
- Paperwhites (otherwise known as Narcissus tazetta), are members of the daffodil family.
- Paperwhite growers have been working on hybridizing cultivars with a less pronounced fragrance than Zivas. Inbal, Ariel and Nir are reputed to have a lighter scent than Ziva.
- A Christmas Cactus, or a Schlumbergera x buckley, can live for 20 to 30 years.
- The holly is the UK’s most common native evergreen. American holly, Ilex opaca, is native to the eastern and south-central United States.
- The Druids, Celts and Romans brought holly into their homes during winter because they believed them to be magical and assured the return of spring. Later, Christians used holly at Christmas as a symbol of Christ’s crown of thorns.
University of Vermont, National Christmas Tree Association, National Wildlife Federation, USDA, gardeners.com, Penn State Extension Office, The Oklahoman, National Trust-UK