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Here’s a handy guide to your Christmas poinsettia

Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower. By any name, they are the Christmas flower, although their flowers actually aren’t the colorful parts for which they are known.
But like an eager child who hasn’t made a wish list yet can’t wait to open gifts on Christmas morning, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
First, some poinsettia background:

  • Native to Mexico, poinsettias are perennial shrubs that can grow 10 to 15 feet tall.
  • Poinsettias were introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
  • Dec. 12 is National Poinsettia Day in America, marking Poinsett’s death in 1851.
  • Poinsettias were first successfully grown outside Mexico by Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, a 50-acre National Historic Landmark that still operates.

Some people pronounce it “poinsetta” (three syllables), and others say “poinsettia,” (four syllables). We’re not sticklers either way. It’s more important that you enjoy your poinsettia and get the most out of it.

Grown in all 50 states

But while there’s leeway when it comes to pronunciation, there are strongly rooted facts about poinsettias:

  • The colored parts of poinsettias aren’t flowers but bracts (leaves).
  • Poinsettias come in more than 100 varieties, from traditional red and white to pink and burgundy, marbled and speckled.
  • Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.
  • Contrary to popular myth, poinsettias are not poisonous, to humans or pets: An Ohio State study found that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache. Some people with latex allergies have had skin reactions to the sap that comes from poinsettia leaves.

Poinsettia care

Connells Maple Lee offers decorated and undecorated poinsettias in multiple color and size options.
Poinsettias are happiest in conditions that approximate their Mexican origin: as much bright light as possible, warm and never sitting in water. Like humans, they don’t like wet feet.
The plants can suffer from droopy leaves, a condition known as epinasty, if they are exposed to cold temperatures or experience a build-up of ethylene gas.
If you’ve ever shopped for poinsettias at a big-box retailer, you may have seen a rack of them still in their protective sleeves. What you’re really seeing is those plants being ruined because the sleeves trap ethylene gas. An experienced florist knows to remove the sleeves as soon as possible.
By any name or pronunciation, poinsettias are a beautiful and safe holiday tradition, a gift of Mexican origin that keeps giving to the world nearly two centuries later.
Additional source: University of Illinois Extension

Connells Maple Lee saluting veterans with free red, white and blue bouquets Nov. 11

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts will continue an annual tradition when it honors veterans with free patriotic bouquets on Nov. 11.
The bouquets – featuring a red carnation, a white carnation and a blue bow – will be available in-store only at any of Connells Maple Lee’s stores: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.
Connells Maple Lee employees and customers are required to wear masks for their safety as part of the effort to combat COVID-19.
“We always look forward to Veterans Day and the opportunity to show our appreciation for the men and women who have selflessly served our country,” said Tom Royer, CEO of Connells Maple Lee.
Non-veterans may purchase the bouquet for $1.90.

Connells Maple Lee collecting holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts is collecting holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans throughout November in each of its stores.
Connells Maple Lee will present the collected items to the American Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program.
Cards and coloring pages may be dropped off (masks are required) at one of Connells Maple Lee’s three Columbus-area stores during normal business hours.
Free coloring pages can be downloaded at
The Red Cross offers these guidelines for preparing cards:

  • Use generic salutations: “Dear Service Member” or “Dear Veteran”
  • Be thoughtful with messages, expressing reasons why you are thankful for the service members/veterans; if you have a personal connection, such as a family member who served, consider adding that
  • Try not to be overtly religious, but messages such as “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” are acceptable
  • Do not include inserts such as glitter, photos, business cards
  • Do not include personal information such as telephone number, address or email
  • Sign your name

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts donates $1,000 to New Directions Career Center in Columbus

Photo: Celeste Gamble, development director, New Directions Career Center, and Andrew Royer, vice president of Ohio operations, Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts.

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts has donated $1,000 to the non-profit New Directions Career Center in Columbus.
Family-owned Connells Maple Lee donates $10 to women’s charities for every purchase of its Admiration arrangement, which is available year-round.
New Directions, at 199 E. Rich St., is in its 40th year of providing career counseling, education and supportive services to help women transition from low-wage jobs or unemployment to affirming and satisfying career paths. New Directions offers career development programs, workshops and individualized services.

‘Harmony Harvest’ winning entry in Connells Maple Lee name-the-arrangement contest

Kara Ferguson’s favorite time of year is the fall: crispness in the air, leaves changing color, drinking cider when it’s cold outside.
Ferguson’s fondness for fall made her a prime candidate to enter Connells Maple Lee Flower & Gifts’ contest to name a mounded pumpkin arrangement.
Her entry, Harmony Harvest, was selected as the winner among nearly 100 online submissions received Sept. 14-18. Her prize is one of the arrangements.
The all-around arrangement measures 12.5 inches high and 16 inches wide. It features a six-inch white ceramic pumpkin, country buffalo gingham bow, dusty miller, mini-green hydrangea, carnations, spray roses, charmelia, poms and limonium.
Click here if you’d like to order a Harmony Harvest arrangement.

Connells Maple Lee Flowers name-the-arrangement online contest runs through Sept. 18

In fairy tales, pumpkins turn into horse-drawn carriages.
At Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts, one lucky person will turn a pumpkin into a prize simply by entering this year’s name-the-arrangement contest.
The person who submits the winning name will receive a complimentary mounded pumpkin arrangement, retail value $44.99.
The all-around arrangement measures 12.5 inches high and 16 inches wide. It features a six-inch white ceramic pumpkin, country buffalo gingham bow, dusty miller, mini-green hydrangea, carnations, spray roses, charmelia, poms and limonium.
To enter the contest, visit Limit one entry daily per email address, Sept. 14-18.

Dublin fifth-grader is this year’s kids club birthday card contest winner

Maya Ibrahim returned home one night this month bearing an abstract painting on canvas that she had created at a friend’s house.
“We’re waiting for that to dry, and we’ll hang it up,” said her mother, Deanna.
It’s not Maya’s only work of distinction this summer, however.
Maya, a fifth-grader at Riverside Elementary School in Dublin, is the winner of this year’s Connells Maple Lee birthday card contest.
Her design, featuring presents, stars, party hats and a hand-lettered “Happy Birthday!,” will adorn the electronic card that kids club members receive on their birthdays in the coming year. Her prize is a free flower delivery on her next birthday.
The kids club is free to ages 5 to 12. With parental permission, children may register for the kids club at any Connells Maple Lee store or online at Membership benefits include a membership card, website activities, an e-mail newsletter, contests and in-store events.

Thank you for helping us collect 175 pounds of food for Neighborhood Services

Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts’ annual food drive collected 175 pounds of non-perishable items to benefit Neighborhood Services Food Pantry in Columbus.
Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger, as the food drive is known, ran June 27-July 4 at the florist’s stores in Bexley, Powell and Grove City.
Food drive donors received a free carnation for each non-perishable food item they contributed, up to six per visit.
This year’s total tied for third highest in the food drive’s nine-year history. Overall, Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger has collected nearly 1,500 pounds of non-perishable food.

Connells Maple Lee Kids Club seeking birthday card entries through July 15

They say that it’s better to give than to receive.
But you could do both if you win this year’s Connells Maple Lee Kids Club birthday card design contest.
The winning design will adorn the email birthday card that every kids club member receives on his or her special day. The winning artist will receive a free flower delivery on his or her birthday.
The contest is open to kids club members, ages 5 to 12. If you aren’t a kids club member yet, you can register for free at
To enter the contest, simply download the entry form here, create your design and drop it off at your nearest Connells Maple Lee store: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.
The winner will be chosen in late July.
Good luck to everyone!

Connells Maple Lee Flowers’ annual food drive returns June 27-July 4

Summer already was a time of acute food shortages, especially for children who lose access to free and reduced-price meals through schools.
This year, the pandemic is compounding the problem, with millions of Americans seeking help from food banks for the first time.
Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts is continuing to do its part to combat hunger with the return of its Connells Maple Lee Stems Hunger food drive, June 27-July 4.
It will benefit the nonprofit Neighborhood Services Food Pantry at 1950 N. 4th St., Suite J, Columbus. Here is the food pantry’s wish list.
Food drive donors will receive a free carnation for each nonperishable food item they contribute (limit six per visit).
Donations may be dropped off during regular business hours at any one of Connells Maple Lee’s stores: 3014 E. Broad St., Bexley; 2033 Stringtown Road, Grove City; and 8573 Owenfield Drive, Powell.