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Plant of the month - December

Unusually we have chosen an indoor plant as our plant of the  month,  Poinsettias are the quintessential /Christmas plant , they not  only come in red but also white, pink with marbling and striations.

Poinsettias come from Mexico and they were discovered by Joel Poinsett in 1825. They were already associated with Christmas however. An old legend recalls that a poor Mexican boy, unable to afford a proper present to take to church, picked some of these colourful red 'weeds' as his Christmas gift.

Don't panic: poinsettias are easy to look after as long as you remember their Mexican provenance.

Keep them warm and away from draughts and don't place them on the windowsill where temperatures and light fluctuate widely. Give them bright light and a warm position instead.

Conjure up the canyons of California in your mind's eye when you water. Feel the pot by pressing your finger into the compost. Water from the top, but only if the compost feels dry, always allowing the water to drain away. You may be able to lift yours out of its cache pot: if it's in a basket water it very sparingly indeed. The trick is water little and often.