Pretty Ways to Use Poinsettias

Poinsettias aren't limited to red. And they don't have to stay in the pot. Try some of these ideas for decorating with this classic Christmas plant.

Good Cheer

Tuck a cut poinsettia bloom or two into silver cups or vases and gather the collection on the mantel for a pretty arrangement.

Branching Out

Create a tree that reflects the spare beauty of winter by cutting several long branches from trees and shrubs. Arrange the branches in a large urn or other container, anchoring them with blocks of foam or pebbles. Remove the hanger top from an ornament so it's open. Set the ball atop a small drinking glass to hold it steady and fill the bottom fourth of it with water; insert the poinsettia. Tie it onto the tree.

Nature's Own Ornament

Poinsettias are a naturally showy way to enliven a Christmas tree. Insert them into small floral vials filled with water. With trees that have dense, tight foliage, such as spruce and balsam, you can get away with simply tucking the vials into the foliage.

Place Setter

'Mini Star' poinsettias are grown one flower per plant in a tiny plastic pot. Tucked into an espresso-size cup, they're a fine embellishment for a place setting. If 'Mini Star' poinsettias are not available where you live, get the same effect with a cut poinsettia in a cup or vase.

Apple Topping

Slip your poinsettia, pot and all, into a decorative ceramic container, then dress up the soil with a layer of small apples. 'Monet' is the variety pictured, with enough of its lower leaves plucked away to show off the fruit.

Simply Elegant

It's amazing the statement a single flower can make -- and nothing is easier to display. Just trim off a poinsettia and lay it on the plate. Tie on a name tag to create a place card. To make the flower last a few days rather than a few hours, slip it into a water-filled vial, available at crafts stores and florist's shops. Wrap the vial in paper to conceal it, or leave it as is.

Mantel Magic

Marbled poinsettias, cut and arranged one or two stems per vessel, bring holiday cheer to a collection of white pottery on a fireplace mantel.

Sweet and Simple

For a snowy show of winter, bring sugar into the picture. Immerse a poinsettia stem up to the bloom in a small vase of water. Set the vase on a candlestick and surround it with sugar "snow."

Itty Bitty Tree

Two-tone 'Strawberries 'n Cream' poinsettias become the ornaments on a potted tree-form topiary of English ivy. Cut the flowers with about 6 inches of stem. Remove the leaves (and a few of the colored outer bracts, if you want more petite blooms). Leave the cut poinsettias in a vase of cool water for 30 minutes to allow the cut ends to seal. Then poke each stem into a water-filled floral pick and nestle into the ivy.

Cranberry Bouquet

Cut a bouquet of ivory poinsettias for a table centerpiece. Cranberries in the clear glass vase hold the stems in place. Mingle the blossoms with Christmas greens if you wish. For a longer-lasting arrangement, insert each stem into a water-filled floral pick before adding them to the vase.

Elevated Elegance

There's no need to worry about the shape of your plant when you cut the blooms and set them in water. Put the vases on two stacked cake plates and you have a festive centerpiece in minutes.

Bow Nouveau

A single perfect 'Strawberries 'n Cream' poinsettia atop a kraft-paper-wrapped gift is more beautiful than a bow. Keep the flower in a florist's pick and hold it in place on the package with ribbon.

Mass Appeal

Why settle for yet another poinsettia set out in a foil-covered pot? For a new look, set wet blocks of florist's foam on a row of trays. Then cut poinsettia flowers from the plant and insert them to cover the foam entirely. Figure about six flowers for every 12 inches of foam.

Peppered with Berries

Pepper berries, available from florists, look wonderful when interspersed with poinsettias.

All Wrapped Up

A pink paper wrap and satin bow quickly turn a potted poinsettia into a take-along gift for a holiday party. Choose an art paper that is thin enough to fold easily around the pot.

Indoor Blooming Wreath

Jazz up a plain myrtle wreath with three poinsettias in floral picks. The variety 'Jingle Bells' is red, splashed with pink. Display the wreath indoors; the flowers won't hold up in cold weather.

Simple Potted Poinsettias

Use silver julep cups, small trophies, or any other silver containers you may have around the house for planting your poinsettias. Don't have any silver? Take a can of chrome spray paint and turn inexpensive containers into look-alikes.

Creating a Focal Point

Choose any striking bloom, insert it into a water-filled floral pick, then use it to accent vignettes around the house. Be sure to check and refill the pick regularly to keep the bloom looking fresh.

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