Although the presence of a poinsettia during the holidays can veer on clichéd, these sturdy red (or white or pink) beauties can add a dash of color and warmth to the home. I think they look best perched on a mantleplace or gracing an entryway. Organically grown poinsettias are out there but you just may have to do a bit of looking around. The best thing to do? Simply call up your local greenhouse or florist and inquire before heading out. Despite common myth, poinsettias are indeed nontoxic (but I wouldn’t recommend feeding their leaves to Mr. Whiskers) and can be easily composted along with certain other holiday leftovers, giving your compost pile a splash of that trademark vivid color.

For those of us who have trouble keeping even a cactus alive, Lauri from The Happy Gardener has insightful tips on how to care for poinsettias so that they last though the holidays.

Happy poinsettia-ing! 

Image: jacilluch

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.