Unwrapping the Magic: The Fascinating Story of Poinsettias and Tips for a Flourishing Holiday Season


Welcome to the enchanting world of Poinsettias – those vibrant bursts of red, pink, and white that herald the holiday season. As you prepare to deck the halls with these festive favorites, let’s dive into the rich history, captivating biology, and practical care tips that make the Poinsettia a cherished symbol of joy and warmth. 


A Blooming History

The Poinsettia’s journey from the sun-drenched landscapes of Mexico to the heart of holiday celebrations worldwide is nothing short of magical. Native to southern Mexico, the plant is known as “Cuetlaxochitl” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. These ancient people prized the plant for its brilliant red bracts and utilized its sap for medicinal purposes. 

Joel Poinsett, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in the early 19th century, encountered this botanical gem during his diplomatic tenure. Struck by its beauty, he sent samples back to his home in South Carolina, introducing the Poinsettia to the United States and sparking its meteoric rise to seasonal stardom. 


Flourishing in Mexico’s Landscape

In its native habitat, the Poinsettia isn’t confined to a decorative pot; it naturally grows into large, lush shrubs, transforming the Mexican landscape with a riot of colors. This perennial evergreen shrub, known botanically as Euphorbia pulcherrima, thrives in the warm, subtropical climates of Mexico and Central America. 

Reaching heights of up to 10 feet, the wild Poinsettia graces hillsides and open areas, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of Mexico’s flora. Its adaptability to varying soil types and preference for well-draining conditions make it a resilient presence in the natural environment. 


Behind the Brilliance: Bracts and Flowers

While the Poinsettia’s beauty is undeniable, it may surprise you to learn that what we commonly perceive as petals are, in fact, specialized leaves known as bracts. These bracts are responsible for the plant’s stunning array of colors, ranging from classic red to elegant white, and soft pink. Nestled within these vibrant bracts are the Poinsettia’s tiny, inconspicuous flowers, located at the center of the plant. It’s a true marvel of nature, where the leaves steal the spotlight, and the flowers work their magic quietly. 


Poinsettia Care 101

Now that you’re enchanted by their history and beguiled by their unique biology, let’s ensure your Poinsettias thrive throughout the holiday season and beyond. Here are some friendly tips for keeping these botanical wonders happy: 


Light and Location

  • Poinsettias love bright, indirect light, so find a cozy spot near a window with filtered sunlight
  • Avoid placing them in drafty areas, as they prefer a stable temperature.


Watering Wisdom

  • Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings
  • Overwatering can lead to root rot, so moderation is key to a healthy Poinsettia


Feeding Fun

  • Fertilize your Poinsettia every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer)
  • Opt for a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer to keep those bracts looking vibrant


Extended Joy

  • To encourage reblooming, reduce the amount of daylight your Poinsettia receives starting in October
  • Keep them in complete darkness for 14 hours a night, ensuring they get 10 hours of bright light during the day. This mimics the natural conditions that trigger blooming


Click below for our detailed printable care guide!

Poinsettia Printable Care Guide


As you welcome these iconic plants into your home this holiday season, remember the rich tapestry of history and biology that accompanies each Poinsettia. By caring for them with a touch of TLC, you can extend the magic well beyond December and enjoy the beauty of these festive companions throughout the year. Happy holidays and may your poinsettias flourish with the spirit of the season! 





It’s the perfect time to arrange your cut greens in window boxes and planters before the soil freezes! Here’s a quick look at how Julia spruced up the window boxes in front of our Winchester store yesterday. Stop in this weekend for fresh cut greens, wreaths, garlands and all of the decorative accessories you’ll need to personalize your display!

Frost covered branch image

Getting Your Garden Cozy for Winter: A New England Guide


As the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, it’s essential to prepare your garden for the brisk New England winter. While we may be bidding farewell to our colorful blooms, there’s no reason your garden can’t be a haven of beauty and potential even during the cold season. Proper winterization will help protect your plants, garden structures, and soil, ensuring a healthy and vibrant garden in the coming spring! So, grab your gardening gloves, and let’s get to work on prepping your garden for a cozy New England winter! 


Prune Sparingly and Leave the Leaves

Gently prune any dead, damaged, or diseased parts of your perennial plants and remove them from your garden While it may be tempting to do a big fall cleanup, consider resisting the temptation. For more information about the benefits of “leaving the leaves” click here!  


Bury Those Bulbs

One key task during this season is planting bulbs that will burst forth in a symphony of colors come spring. Fall is the opportune time to tuck bulbs into the soil, allowing them the necessary period of dormancy to thrive in the warmer months. If you’re eager to delve into the art of fall bulb planting, be sure to check our detailed guide to fall bulb planting. Discover the joy of anticipation as you envision the beauty that will unfurl in your garden when winter’s chill gives way to the blossoming wonders of spring.


Mulch It Up

Mulch is your garden’s best friend in winter. A thick layer of mulch (about 2-4 inches) will help insulate your plants’ roots and protect them from the harsh cold. Use organic mulch such as leaves, straw, or compost. This not only keeps the soil temperature more stable but also enriches it with nutrients for the coming spring.


Click to order bagged mulch and compost



Protect Vulnerable Plants

Some plants, especially newly planted ones, are more susceptible to frost and freezing temperatures. Protect them by covering them with burlap or frost cloth. Be sure to remove these covers during the day to allow for sunlight and air circulation. Most evergreen shrubs would also benefit from an application of Wilt Stop. This will reduce moisture loss during the winter months and protect plants from windburn.  


Bring Potted Plants Indoors

If you have potted plants that aren’t winter-hardy, bring them inside before the first frost. Place them in a sunny spot, and don’t forget to water them sparingly, as they won’t need as much moisture in the winter months. 


Clean and Store Tools

Before winter sets in, it’s a good idea to clean and store your gardening tools properly. Make sure they are free of dirt and moisture to prevent rust. This will ensure they’re ready to go when spring comes around. But if winter does get the best of your tools, you can find the tools to meet your needs here. 


Plan Ahead!

Winter is a wonderful time to reflect on the past season and plan for the next. Take note of what worked and what didn’t and sketch out any changes or new additions you want to make in your garden. This planning will help you hit the ground running when the snow melts. 


Need Help? Consult with our team of Landscape Design Pros!


Bird Feeding Stations

Don’t forget about our feathered friends! Setting up bird feeding stations with birdseed and water will not only provide a food source for local wildlife but also add a touch of life and activity to your winter garden. Shop our favorite products here.


Enjoy The Beauty of Winter

Winters can be long and challenging, but they also have a unique beauty. Take some time to enjoy your garden’s winter aesthetics – the frost-kissed plants, the glistening snow, and the tranquility of a dormant landscape. Consider adding some outdoor seating or a fire pit to make your garden a cozy, winter retreat. 

In New England, a well-prepared garden can still bring joy and inspiration even during the coldest months. With a little TLC and some planning, your garden can emerge from winter stronger and more beautiful than ever. So, get out there, wrap up warmly, and let’s prepare our gardens for a wonderful New England winter! 



christmas tree in snow

Unlocking the Secrets to Choosing and Caring for Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree


There’s nothing quite like the allure of a fresh-cut Christmas tree, infusing your home with festive cheer. To keep your tree looking its best throughout the season, understanding the distinctions between tree varieties and applying proper care techniques is essential. 


Conifer Choices for Christmas: Unraveling the Differences

Fraser Fir

Distinguished by its robust branches and stiff needles, the Fraser Fir is a top contender. Its needles, with a deep blue-green hue and silvery-blue undersides, are shorter and rounded (about 0.5 to 1 inch) while offering excellent needle retention. The needles spiral around each branch, providing a unique and resilient structure ideal for heavier ornaments.

Balsam Fir

Meanwhile, the Balsam Fir is known for its softer needles and flexibility compared to the Fraser. With needles sporting a dark green color and silver undersides, they are longer and flatter (ranging from about 0.75 to 1.25 inches) and emit a stronger fragrance. These needles grow in two rows along the sides of each branch, offering a different visual arrangement than the spiral pattern of the Fraser Fir. 

Cook Fir

A hybrid of the Fraser and Balsam varieties, the Cook Fir stands out as a classic choice for Christmas celebrations. Characterized by its sturdy branches and rich, deep green needles, this variety exudes a fragrance that encapsulates the essence of the holiday season. The needles, ranging from 1 to 1.5 inches in length, display a dense arrangement along the branches, creating a lush and full-bodied look. This fir variety offers excellent needle retention, ensuring that your tree remains vibrant throughout the festive season.

White Pine

White Pine is a graceful option for those seeking a softer touch in their holiday decor. The White Pine features long, slender needles that come in clusters of five, creating a feathery appearance. The needles showcase a bright green color and a gentle, flexible nature, making them easy to handle and arrange. One distinct advantage of the White Pine is its minimal production of pollen, making it an excellent choice for individuals with fir pollen allergies. This characteristic not only ensures a delightful aesthetic but also provides a welcoming option for those who want to revel in the beauty of a fresh-cut Christmas tree without the worry of triggering allergies.


Preservation Pro Tips for Prolonging Your Tree’s Lifespan

Understanding how to care for your fresh-cut tree is vital to maintain its vitality throughout the holiday season.  

  1. Reviving Freshness: As soon as you bring your tree home, give it a fresh cut of about 1-1.5 inches from the base to reopen its pores for rehydration and increased water absorption.
  2. Hydration Matters: Immediately place the tree in a stand filled with warm water, aiming to do so within four hours of cutting the base. Regularly check the water level, ensuring it never drops below the base to prevent the pores from sealing.
  1. Ideal Placement: Choose a location away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent accelerated drying, preserving the tree’s freshness.
  1. Special Care: Using Prolong Christmas Tree Preservative in your watering routine can significantly extend the tree’s life. Safe around children and pets, this solution assists in maintaining the tree’s vibrant appearance.


Extended Festivity: When cared for properly, your cut tree should last approximately three weeks in your home, radiating festive charm throughout the holiday season. 

Mahoney’s Garden Centers: Your Premier Destination for Christmas Trees in New England

Looking for the perfect tree? Mahoney’s Garden Centers offer an exceptional selection of fresh-cut Christmas trees. We take pride in providing the finest trees, ensuring that your holiday centerpiece is not only beautiful but also long-lasting. Visit us to discover the perfect tree and find Prolong Christmas Tree Preservative at checkout for an extended festive season. 


Click here for a printable guide:

Cut Christmas Tree Printable Care Guide


Winter scene with fresh pink amaryllis

Brighten Up Your Holiday Season with Majestic Amaryllis and Dazzling Paperwhites

As the chilly winds of autumn descend upon New England, the desire for vibrant blooms that bring a touch of warmth to our homes intensifies. Fortunately, nature has provided us with two perfect options that can transform our indoor spaces into floral havens – amaryllis and paperwhites. These enchanting bulbs are remarkably easy to cultivate and can be enjoyed during the festive season, adding a touch of elegance and fragrance to your Christmas décor. Keep in mind, amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs require 6-10 weeks to bloom, here is our handy guide to give you an idea of when to plant to enjoy beautiful blooms in the home!



Amaryllis: A Showstopper for Christmas


Sprouted amaryllis bulbs


Amaryllis, with its large, trumpet-shaped flowers, is a true spectacle to behold. Its bright colors, ranging from fiery reds to delicate whites and pinks, can instantly transform any room into a haven of holiday cheer. To cultivate these majestic blooms in your home, follow these simple steps:

1. Potting and Soil: Select a pot that is slightly larger than the bulb itself. Fill the pot with well-draining potting mix, ensuring the bulb is placed with its pointed end upwards. Fill the pot with soil until about two-thirds of the bulb is covered.

2. Watering and Light: Place your potted amaryllis in a warm, sunny spot within your home. Water the soil thoroughly until it is moist but not soggy. During the blooming stage, increase watering slightly. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to bulb rot.


Paperwhites: Fragrant Delights for the Holidays


White paperwhite narcissus bulb flowers forced in winter


Paperwhites, with their delicate white flowers and sweet, citrusy fragrance, are a delightful addition to any Christmas décor. They are particularly well-suited for arrangements or vases, bringing a touch of elegance and scent to your home. Here’s how to cultivate these fragrant blooms:

1. Arrangement and Watering: Fill a vase with pebbles or marbles to about an inch from the top. Place the paperwhite bulbs on the pebbles, ensuring their pointed ends are facing upwards. Pour water into the vase until it just touches the bottom of the bulbs. Keep the water level consistent to prevent the bulbs from drying out.

2. Light and Temperature: Place your paperwhite arrangement near a sunny window, where it can receive bright, indirect light. Maintain a warm room temperature around 65-70°F to promote healthy growth.


Paperwhite bulbs in glass

Care Tips for Spectacular Blooms

  • Avoid direct sunlight: While amaryllis and paperwhites thrive in bright light, avoid placing them in direct sunlight, which can scorch their delicate leaves.
  • Maintain humidity: Mist the leaves of your amaryllis and paperwhites occasionally to increase humidity and prevent them from drying out.
  • Remove spent blooms: Once the amaryllis flowers have wilted, gently remove them to encourage the plant to focus on producing new bulbs.


Amaryllis flowers at The Florist at Mahoney’s

Gift-Giving Ideas

  • Host Gifts: Amaryllis and paperwhites make thoughtful and appreciated host gifts for the holiday season. Present them in decorative pots or arrangements, accompanied with a ribbon or handwritten note.
  • DIY Arrangements: Create personalized centerpieces or table decorations using amaryllis and paperwhites. Combine them with other festive greenery or flowers for a unique touch.
  • Gift Baskets: Fill gift baskets with amaryllis bulbs, paperwhites, gardening accessories, or seasonal treats for a thoughtful gift.


The Best Time to Start: Early November is the best time to start amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs if you want them to bloom in time for Christmas. This will give them enough time to develop roots and grow strong stems before the holiday season arrives.

Embrace the magic of indoor gardening this holiday season and bring the brilliance of amaryllis and paperwhites into your home. With their vibrant colors, intoxicating fragrances, and ease of care, these remarkable bulbs are sure to transform your Christmas décor into a heartwarming spectacle. Remember to visit Mahoney’s Garden Centers for an exceptional selection of bulbs and enjoy the satisfaction of nurturing these enchanting blooms into magnificent displays of holiday cheer.


Video Look: Fall Container Inspiration

Get inspired by how Julia pulled together the Fall planters in front of our Winchester store! Using an eclectic mix of bright and textured fall annuals and perennials (and a delightful touch of pumpkins) – we absolutely adore the result!



Sprucing Up for Spring

Looking for some inspiration to dress up the house this weekend? See how Julia spruced up the front of our Winchester store with our locally-grown, cold-tolerant spring bulbs and pansies.