CHEROKEE, Iowa (KCAU) — John Beier of The Blooming House in Cherokee, Iowa, has been working with a flower associated with winter and Christmas.

“When you see the Poinsettia around it tells you it’s Christmas,” Beier said.

The flowers are unique, blooming during low light.

“When the nights get longer than the days and the days are shorter that’s what makes these guys bloom. So, they bloom naturally in the winter,” Beier added. “Very few plants bloom in the wintertime when we have low light. For this plant, it actually kicks it into flower because the shortening of days makes this plant go into bloom.”

Even though they bloom in darkness, Beier said they have to take special steps to ensure they bloom.

“We actually have to put up black cloth at night to make sure we get that 12 hours plus of darkness otherwise they wouldn’t flower.”

Beier is one of the few retail growers left of the flower. He said that many sellers buy them from a wholesaler. In addition, the flowers require a lot of work.

“I love the plant, but they are one of the most trickiest to grow.  They get a lot of different disease problems, they get insect problems, and they need lots of extra care to get them going and to keep them going properly,” It’s a challenge but they are gorgeous.”

Even so, caring for the work is worth it.

“As a retailer, it’s very rewarding because you see the consumer come in to take the product.  Very rarely do you see a greenhouse with 2,000 poinsettias. It is absolutely gorgeous, it really is.”

Beier also settled an age-old myth about the flowers.

“One of the misconceptions of the Poinsettia is that it’s poisonous and they are not.  They do have latex in them so if you break a leaf or stem you’ll have white sap come out so if you have a latex allergy you will get a rash but them being poisonous they are not.  You would have to eat a lot of leaves and then you’d get a stomachache. You’d get that eating a lot of hamburgers too.”

Even so, there is still some mystery left to learn about the plant.

“People think this is the flower, but the actual flower is the center part right there and this is just the modified leaves that turn color,” Beier said.

“I have to keep reminding myself it’s a job, but I love what I do because it’s very rewarding, very much so,” Beier added.