37 December 2, 2006
The holiday season is upon us, and many of you will be decorating your home for the holidays. The poinsettia is a traditional plant for red coloration during the holidays. However, if you are only buying red poinsettias, you may be missing out on some of the best color for holiday decorating.
Poinsettias have come a long way since I started in this business. When I first started, poinsettias had only a red bract or leaf. The plants were notorious for dropping their leaves by about the first of the year. Usually by mid January, people had thrown the plant in the trash. Now a days, many people can have the poinsettia as a houseplant that thrives year round. It was a rarity 30 years ago for anyone to ask how to make last years’ poinsettia turn color again this year. For those who want to know, it is accomplished by having the poinsettia get 12 hours of light per day and 12 hours of darkness per day. It is the exposure to light and dark each day that causes the leaves to change color.
Poinsettias have been bred to produce many colors. White and pink leafed plants have been around for years. You will find white with pink streaks in the leaves. There is a red leaf with pink blotches. There are yellow poinsettias. Now poinsettia growers have done what nature cannot do. They have come up with a blue poinsettia. Let me tell you how this is done.
Blue is not a naturally occurring color in poinsettia. The color is achieved by spraying a dye on the leaves of the plant. The dye is usually applied to the white leaf poinsettias. The spray on dye can create purple poinsettias. There are orange tones as well. The dye allows the grower to produce some of the most interesting color combinations. Growers have even taken some poinsettias and added glitter to the leaves. As you can see, poinsettias have come a long way in the last few years.
When you bring your poinsettia home, be sure to keep it away from drafty locations. Cold air, blowing on the leaves, will cause those leaves to drop quickly. The poinsettia also needs bright light to keep the plant healthy. The soil should be kept moist to slightly dry. Never allow the poinsettia to sit in water for any length of time. If you want to kill a poinsettia, really fast, let it sit in a tray of water for a day or 2.
If you are one of those people who think poinsettias are a boring plant, you may want to take a second look at the new colors of this plant.
I’ll talk to you again next week.