Frankie Allison has been growing a poinsettia in his living room for 19 years. The plant stands more than 1.5 metres tall, measures more than 3.6 metres around and weighs more than 100 pounds.

"It just kept growing," said Allison, who lives in Halifax. "Pretty soon I won't be able to look out the picture window."

The remarkable plant holds a special place in Allison's heart and home because it belonged to his late wife, Maxine.

She won it Christmas Eve, 1996 in a call-in radio contest.

Three days later, she died suddenly of a heart attack. Allison says friends and family often remark that her spirit helps the plant grow. 

Maxine Allison

Allison says this photo of himself with his wife Maxine was taken just days before she died from a heart attack. (CBC)

"They say that's a miracle plant," he said. "They always say your wife is still with you." 

Allison doesn't give the plant any special treatment, just water twice a week and regular fertilizer. 

He said he's been told by specialists at Halifax Seed it is rare for a poinsettia to live this long as a house plant.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and live in the wild in Central America. They are a popular Christmas house plant in North America, but rarely outlive other Christmas decorations. 

Allison said he's not sure why his plant thrived. 

He said every Christmas it blossoms, changing its green leaves to red, and filling his living room with memories of his beloved late wife. 


The poinsettia is native to Mexico and is used in North America as a Christmas decoration (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)