Poinsettias spell arrival of holiday season


If you are looking for a twist on tradition or a new take on holiday style, then specialty poinsettias are perfect for you. Long favorites of interior decorators, these holiday beauties will add sophisticated style to your festivities.

You will find new poinsettia colors and color combinations as well as new flower forms. Even the leaves on some varieties have a bright new appearance. Along with new looks, breeders have improved poinsettias so they last beautifully for weeks and weeks with little care. During a busy holiday season, little care can be a big benefit.

Tops on the list of most people are a couple of two-toned charmers. Poinsettia Ice Punch has rich, fuchsia-toned flowers with irregular icy-white shadings down the center of each petal. Ice Crystals have petals of creamy white with wide edges of deep salmon-red.
The traditional crimson-red flowers of Tapestry are set off by spring-green leaves with bright gold variegation. It is truly a striking combination.

If red just does not work with your color scheme, then spark things up a bit with a pair of poinsettias: Maroon or Burgundy. Maroon has very large flowers of chestnut red or claret, which combines beautifully with neutrals and warm wood tones. Burgundy is just that — a poinsettia in deep, rich wine.

Want to give your holidays a jolt? Then consider Orange Spice. This stunner is a warm burnt-orange. Cinnamon Star has creamy gold petals distinctly dusted with nutmeg and cinnamon. Use them for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Visions of Grandeur is an over-the-top name for a poinsettia that is worthy of it. The huge flowers are gorgeously ruffled and gathered. Its color is elusive — a heavenly blend of cream and soft pink with touches of soft salmon brushed with gold.

Carousel Red has ruffled and crimped flaring petals with prominent gold centers. It is these tiny golden center nubs that are technically the poinsettia flowers. The colorful petals are actually bracts of colored leaves.

These decorator poinsettias sell out fast, so purchase them early in the season from your neighborhood garden center. You likely will not find them much after the first week of December.

Once you get them home, give poinsettias bright, indirect light and put them where temperatures are reasonably constant. They will also be fine outdoors if they are protected from direct sun and chilling winds.

Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Do not let them sit in standing water. There is no need to feed them because the grower has already done that for you.
Gary Jones is the chief horticulturist at Armstrong Garden Centers. Email your gardening questions to growingdialogue@armstronggarden.com (link sends e-mail).

Poinsettias spell arrival of holiday season