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from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

Tradition With a Twist

The poinsettia has gotten pretty flashy in recent years. Not only are the colors amazing, some are dusted with glitter.

Poinsettia

Slideshow: Poinsettias for 2009

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Slideshow:Poinsettias for 2009
To see captions, click on the image. To share comments or explore further, go to Flickr.

Wow. Poinsettias sure have changed. We just received a fresh shipment at our store in Vermont, and the variety is amazing. The range of colors has expanded dramatically in the last few years. You can even get plants with sprayed-on glitter.

Poinsettias are fairly easy to care for. Just be aware that they are especially sensitive to cold. Make sure they’re well-protected if you’re transporting them on a cold day. Once in your house, they do best with about six hours of sunlight a day. Ideal daytime temperatures are 60-70 degrees F.; at night: 55-65 degrees F. No drafts, no blasting heat ducts.

Most folks treat poinsettias as a holiday annual and toss the plants when they start to deteriorate. But that doesn’t sit well with many avid gardeners. You can try to keep a plant and bring it into bloom again. Leonard Perry of the University of Vermont Extension says: “If you do decide to hold your poinsettias until next fall, remember that they need darkness (13 hours, uninterrupted, as in a dark closet) every night from the end of September to Thanksgiving. Just remember to take plants out of the dark during the day and to give bright light. Most find it easier to buy new ones each year, with plants of better quality having been grown under ideal greenhouse conditions. An early December visit to a local greenhouse, full of thousands of plants all in bloom, makes a memorable outing.” For more, read his article, Poinsettias for the Holidays.

The other thing to know about poinsettias: They are not poisonous. This rumor has persisted for decades, possibly starting with a report from Hawaii about a fatality that happened 75 years ago. The myth was busted after research done in the 1970s at Ohio State University. However, there are a few holiday favorites—such as mistletoe and holly—that are indeed poisonous. Learn more in Leonard Perry’s article, Holiday Plant Toxicity. In general, let the facts and common sense be your guide: Keep poinsettias out of reach of small children.

-David Grist

Online Content Coordinator, Gardener’s Supply

2 Comments

  1. December 14, 2009    

    While eating a Poinsettia might not make you sick, getting the sap on your skin can cause a painful rash. The milky sap from all plants in the Euphorbia family can cause rashes on people with sensitive skin, so be careful when handleing them.

  2. December 14, 2009    

    I just love Poinsettias! The peachy colored one in your slideshow is gorgeous. Of course, red is always my favorite.

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We are an employee-owned company of avid gardeners, located in Burlington, VT.