How many of you knew that Louisiana is a major player in supplying our nation with one of its most endearing symbols of the holidays, the poinsettia? I knew the beautiful Christmas flowers, as we call them at our house, needed warm tropical climates to grow but I always thought that warm and the tropical place was somewhere other than here.

This year warm and tropical conditions have worked adversely against the state's crop of poinsettias. That's because in 2020 the warm and tropical breezes have brought numerous tropical storms and hurricanes to our part of the world. The most recent one, Hurricane Zeta which affected mainly southeastern Louisiana really did some damage to the state's poinsettia crop. 

Officials with the LSU AgCenter speculate that because of tropical weather this year nearly 95% of southeastern Louisiana's poinsettia crop has destroyed or at least damaged. That could mean higher prices for those who like to adorn their homes with the beautiful red blooms during the holidays.

Based on LSU AgCenter statistics more than 200 growers specialize in producing the Christmas flowers in the state. By the way, poinsettias are the number one flowering potted plant in the country. There are over 100 varieties of the species but most of us prefer what's known as the Prestige Red.

The history of the plant can be traced back to Mexico in the early 1800s when Joel Poinsett, the Ambassador to Mexico at the time, first brought the plants to the United States. And the rest is history.