What color are poinsettia?

Poinsettias are the popular flowers that we often see as part of interior decorations during the Christmas season. Those red blooms, however, are only the leaves and not the actual flower.

Poinsettia flowers belong to the Euphorbia family and are related to the Euphorbia polychrome or the Cushion Spurge. These Christmas flowers are native to Mexico and are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S Ambassador to Mexico and a U.S Congressman. Poinsett discovered them during an envoy to Mexico around Christmastime and introduced the flowers to the U.S.A.

Its scientific name Euphorbia pulcherrima is Latin for “the most beautiful Euphorbia.” They’re also called as the “Painted Leaf” and the “Mexican Fire Plant.”

Contents

Types

Carousel Red

The Carousel Red has petals that are wavy and scalloped, and a center made of many small, brilliant yellow flowers that perfectly complement the color of the petals. It has large, green leaves that are veined and love to be shown off, and the entire plant simply begs to be noticed.

Classic Red

Once you hear the name of this plant, you can likely picture exactly what it looks like in your head. This poinsettia has bright-red petals, classic green leaves, and greenish-yellow flowers in the center of each petal, giving it a cheery look that is perfect for the entire holiday season.

Classic White

Much like the Classic Red, it is easy to picture what this plant’s flowers look like. They are a creamy-white color and have white centers and beautiful green leaves to complement their look. Placing it next to poinsettias in any shad of red gives your table or mantle an extraordinary look that you’ll want to show off for as long as possible.

Early Monet

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This plant has petals with a yellowish tone and dark-red flushes throughout each one. Like other poinsettias, this one has a center comprised of a group of small, yellow flowers, but it’s the unique color of the petals that has everyone noticing it and wishing to buy it.

Enduring Marble

This poinsettia has creamy white, almost lime-green petals with shades of soft pink throughout each petal. It is the perfect plant to have around when you want a little color in your home, but don’t want that color to be obnoxious or take away from your other indoor plants.

Euphorbia Aries Red

A new variety of poinsettia, it has medium vigor and fits perfectly in pots from 2.5 inches to 7 inches in diameter. It looks beautiful with miniature succulents that are 2.5 inches in size.

Euphorbia Astro Red

This one has a great shelf life and is very strong, branching easily and suitable for pots up to 10 inches in diameter. Best of all, it does well in both cooler and warmer climates, making it suitable for nearly everyone.

Euphorbia Autumn Leaves

This plant has warm colors of pink, peach, and yellow, and it has a response time of over 7 weeks. Also called Poinsettia Gold, it makes a stunning and unique Thanksgiving decoration.

Euphorbia Christmas Beauty Marble

In colors such as saturated pink with a cream-colored marble pattern, this flower is striking and sure to stand out among your other holiday plants.

Euphorbia Christmas Glory Pink

Best for pots that are 6 inches or smaller, this poinsettia is uniform and compact, and it thrives in cooler temperatures. Now in petals of both pink and white, the plant has colors that won’t fade and stay looking great regardless of how long you own it.

Euphorbia Envy

The Envy has petals of lime-green and an upright, strong habit that makes it long-lasting and attractive enough to be an impulse buy. It has a response time of more than 8 weeks, and it looks beautiful next to other types of Christmas plants.

Euphorbia Ferrara

This one has medium to high vigor and a 7-week response time, and it is classic red in color, making it a wonderful choice when you’re out looking for Christmas plants. Since it finishes fast, it is a popular choice for people who are shopping on Black Friday.

Euphorbia Hera Red

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With a bright-red color and medium vigor, this plant is perfect for larger pot sizes. Its stems are sturdy and it has a V-shape, decreasing the possibility of stem breakage. With a great shelf life, this plant blooms in late November and continues to thrive for 8 weeks.

Euphorbia Leona Red

This plant is easy to grow regardless of the type of climate you enjoy, and it adapts easily to various temperatures and light conditions. They are uniform and V-shaped, and they look best in 6- to 10-inch pots. They also produce massive amounts of petals, making them perfect for people who love red poinsettias.

Euphorbia Rinehart Code 257

With a beautiful blue-red hue, this type of poinsettia has medium-size petals and compact, dense branches. It is ready to purchase before Thanksgiving, and its mid-sized petals are perfect for any area of your home that you wish to decorate.

Euphorbia Rinehart Code 619

With upright, bright-white petals and adaptation for cooler temperatures, this poinsettia does much better when you give it some extra care and attention, enabling it to grow and thrive beautifully the entire time you have it.

Euphorbia Rinehart Code

This is a vigorous, fancy grade of poinsettia, and it has strong, upright stems and bright-red, eye-catching petals. Like other types of Euphorbia Rinehart Code, this one thrives much better when you take good care of it and give it some attention while you have it.

Freedom Marble

The Freedom Marble has petals that are light greenish-white in color with raspberry-colored streaks in the middle of each of them. The color combination gives it a marbled look, and the petals truly stand out among the other poinsettias.

This type of poinsettia has unique petals of creamy-white with wide, bright-red trim. Small yellow flowers gather in its center, and the petals are less compact than other types of poinsettias, giving them a “devil may care” characteristic. Its dark-green leaves are scalloped and veined, so they look perfect next to the beautiful petals.

Jingle Bell Rock

The Jingle Bell Rock is nothing short of spectacular, with two-toned petals of bright-red and a striking shade of creamy yellow, and it makes the perfect Christmas accessory. It has glossy, dark-green leaves that look amazing next to the bright red of the petals, so it is something that can be enjoyed by both adults and children.

Jubilee Pink

A very unique shade of pink, this poinsettia has petals that are also a bright orange-red color that fades in and out, making it look like it has more than one color in each of its petals. Its large, grass-green leaves complement its pink shades, and it will make you want to keep this plant around for as long as you can.

Luv U Pink

A truly striking poinsettia, its massive amounts of petals are bright-pink in color and are true eye-catchers. It has complementary large, dark-green leaves that truly bring out the color of the petals, and it is well-loved by anyone who sees it, even those whose favorite color isn’t pink.

Monet

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The Monet has strong, shapely petals that are a beautiful shade of pink, and each petal has flushes of dark-pink throughout. The long, dark-green leaves make the pink petals stand out even more, and like other poinsettias, at the center this one has beautiful yellow flowers that are quite small.

Orange Spice

This poinsettia stands out not just because it has only one color to concentrate on, but because that color is a spicy, bright orange that will attract anyone’s attention. It is a striking plant that looks great alongside its large, dark-green leaves, so feel free to make it the centerpiece of your table or mantle.

With creamy-white trim and a soft-pink center streak, this poinsettia is both beautiful and elegant-looking. If you’re looking for something a little subtle but which still makes people take notice, the Peterstar Marble is for you.

Polar Bear

The Polar Bear has petals that are one color only, and that color is a beautiful shade of creamy white-yellow that gives it a very delicate look. The small yellow flowers in the center match the petals perfectly, and if you’re looking for a plant with a beautiful and consistent look, this is the one for you.

Polly’s Pink

Another perfect plant for those who love the color pink, this poinsettia has deep-pink petals and beautiful, grass-green leaves that perfectly complement them and bring the entire look of the plant together to make it look eye-catching and stunning.

Prestige Maroon

A deep shade of red makes the petals on this plant very unique, and the irregular shape of the petals and brilliant yellow center make it a truly stunning plant to have in your home.

Prestige Red

A brilliant, bright shade of red makes these flowers truly stand out, and the small cluster of lovely yellow flowers in the center gives it the perfect final touch. A perfect plant to have around and show off to your friends!

Princettia Hot Pink

These beautiful, eye-catching flowers are deep-pink in color and come with petals that are a little lighter as well. The various shades of pink, along with the light trim and centers on some of the petals, make this plant a must for anyone who loves the color pink.

Princettia Max White

Like the name suggests, this plant has bright-white petals with soft-pink lines throughout them, as well as a group of green flowers in the center. Its attractive petals make it a very noticeable plant, and because of its color, it can match any other plant you place next to it.

Princettia Pink

Another plant that is perfect for lovers of the color pink, this plant has lighter pink petals on the outside and shorter petals that get darker pink towards the center. The centers have the small yellow flowers that poinsettia-lovers are used to, and the occasional splash of green on some of the petals makes it even more extraordinary to look at.

Red Glitter

This is a striking plant, with petals that are bright-red in color and have creamy-yellow blotches throughout, making it a real eye-catcher. Its grass-green leaves look absolutely beautiful next to its petals, and if you’re looking for something that exudes Christmas but which is a little different and unique, this is it.

Strawberries and Cream

With gorgeous rose-pink petals that have raspberry-colored veins throughout, their grass-green leaves look beautiful next to them and the plant creates a truly extraordinary look for your dining room table, mantle, or fireplace.

Visions of Grandeur

These poinsettias have very soft, elegant petals that look similar to a large rose, and it comes in soft colors such as pink, cream, and yellow. Its large, emerald-green leaves complement the flowers perfectly, and they look extraordinary in a home that has a French or country design. For extra beauty, these plants can be placed near plants that are winter-white or white in color.

Winter Rose Dark Red

With leaves that are so dark they are almost burgundy, this plant has dark-green leaves and green flowers in the center, and if you’re looking for a plant to get you in the Christmas spirit, this is definitely one to consider.

Winter Rose Red

Looking similar to a geranium or rose, this poinsettia has curvy petals in bright-red so it truly earns its name. Large, dark-green leaves and the brilliant shade of red make this the perfect Christmas decoration, especially if you line the pot in colors such as gold or silver.

Winter Rose White

With a creamy-white color and bright-green leaves, this poinsettia is beautiful and can match any other plant you put next to it. Place it next to red or dark-pink poinsettias for an especially beautiful look, and the plant is guaranteed to make the area look cheery and happy.

Poinsettias Broken Down by Color

Red

    • Carousel Dark Red
    • Novia
    • Prestige Maroon
    • Red Elf
    • Red Jubilee “1139 Red”

White

    • Cortez White
    • Infinity Polar
    • Polar Bear
    • Premium Polar
    • White Christmas

Pink

    • Enduring Pink
    • Marks Pink
    • Pink Cadillac
    • Pink Elf
    • Polly’s Pink

Novelty

    • Cortez Burgundy
    • Ice Punch
    • Jingle Bell 3
    • Money Twilight
    • Shimmer Surprise

Marble

    • Christmas Angel Marbella
    • Infinity Marble
    • Marblestar
    • Sonora Marble
    • Winter Blush

Top 3 Overall

  • Carousel Dark Red
  • Ice Punch
  • Shimmer Pink

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Growing and caring for poinsettia

“How can I make my poinsettia rebloom?” is a common question.

Poinsettias can be grown as attractive green plants, but most people are interested in making their green poinsettia colorful again and ready for the holidays.

It is not an easy task, as it requires excluding light from the plant for a period of time while keeping the plant healthy. The reduction in light prevents the plant from producing chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plant parts green. This changes the bracts to red, pink or white, depending on the poinsettia variety.

Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension professor emeritus at the University of Vermont and author of Caring for Your Poinsettia Year-Round, developed an easy-to-follow poinsettia care calendar based on the holidays of the year.

New Year’s Day

  • Fertilize if you see new growth.
  • Continue to provide adequate light and water for prolonged bloom for several weeks.

Valentine’s Day

  • Check your plant for signs of insects, such as white fly, and manage them if you find them. See Managing insects on indoor plants.
  • If your plant has become long and leggy, cut back to about five inches tall to promote more compact growth.

St. Patrick’s Day

  • Prune off faded and dried parts of the plant.
  • Remove leaves from the soil surface, and add a little more potting soil if the roots are visible.
  • Continue keeping the plant in a bright, sunny window.

Memorial Day

  • Trim off two to three inches of branches to promote side branching.
  • If you plan to continue growing your poinsettia as a potted plant, transplant into a container.

Father’s Day

  • Move the plant outside for the summer and place in indirect light.
  • You can also transplant it directly into your garden.

Fourth of July

  • Trim the plant again.
  • Move it into full sun.
  • Continue to water and fertilize but increase the amount to accelerate growth.

Labor Day

  • Move indoors to a spot that gets at least six hours of direct light daily, preferably more.
  • As new growth begins, reduce the fertilizer to one-quarter the recommended strength.

Fall equinox

  • Starting on or near Sept. 21, give the plant 16 hours of uninterrupted darkness (put the plant in a closet, basement or under a box) and 8 hours of bright light every day. Note that during the dark period, the plant cannot receive even the slightest bit of light at any time.
  • Maintain night temperatures in the low 60 degrees F range.
  • Continue to water and fertilize at the reduced rate.
  • Rotate the plant daily to give all sides even light.

Thanksgiving

  • Discontinue the short day/long night treatment.
  • Put the plant in a sunny area that gets at least six hours of direct light.
  • Reduce water and fertilizer.

Christmas

Enjoy your “new” poinsettia. Start the cycle all over again after the new year.

Types Of Poinsettia Plants: Choosing Different Poinsettia Varieties

Poinsettias are a holiday staple, brightening our winter days and bringing cheery color to drab interiors. There are more poinsettia plant varieties then just the classic red. Put pink, red, fuchsia, yellow, purple and white on your mental paintbrush and then color, splatter and dot until you come up with all the possible combinations of poinsettia plant types. The imagination is almost the limit on these designer plants. A new, exciting variety is released nearly every year, with different poinsettia varieties to suit any taste.

Different Poinsettia Varieties

It is a funny irony that poinsettia plants are native to Mexico’s warm climate but we use them as a celebratory item during our coldest month. However this came to pass, poinsettias are here to stay as indicators of the holiday season. Today, you are not just stuck with the regular old red varieties but can choose from a nearly limitless array of colors and textures. Even the big box stores carry a wide variety of poinsettia plant varieties that can get you on your way to celebrating this special time of year.

Once upon a time you could only find the classic red poinsettia for purchase, but today there are over 100 varieties available. They vary in “bloom” form, number of blooms, pattern on leaves and size.

There are those where the colored bracts that form the flower aspect are curved and double in number from traditional poinsettias, giving a rose-like appearance. There are diminutive one foot tall plants and huge varieties that will get up to 3 feet in height.

The possible markings on both leaf and bract boggle the mind. Splatter marks, variegated ghostly white smudges, water spots and many other markings may be found on the leaves or bracts. Monet is a classic example of the spotted leaf variety with several tones of pink bracts, dotted with white.

There are plants with 2 or 3 colors of bracts and even one, Ice Punch, which starts out red and turns white as it matures.

Choosing Types of Poinsettia Plants

A truly amazing poinsettia display simply relies upon a variety of types of poinsettia plants. Start simple and choose an array of different colors for a knock out flurry of tones with riotous impact. There are white, red, soft pink, bright pink, maroon, green, purple, and even yellow varieties.

Once you have color managed, you can graduate to bract form. The bract is what we perceive as the flower, although the flowers are actually tiny, yellow and insignificant. Bract edges come ruffled, fluted, curled and regular. Ready for some real fun? Opt for poinsettia plant types with highlighted bracts and leaves or random spotting.

Size may be a consideration, so look for dwarf varieties or, if you want a real statement, there are forms that grow as mini trees. The number of bracts in some of the different poinsettia varieties may be twice the traditional species, outshining the old strain with brilliant blooms.

  • A traditional take on the poinsettia, Holly Point, has red flower bracts but variegated foliage that acts as a perfect foil for the colorful blooms.
  • If you are a color fanatic, try a really unique cultivar called Tri-Color. This amazing plant has 3 colors of bracts – red, white and pink.
  • Plum Pudding is the first really purple kind of poinsettia but Prestige Maroon has deep, velvety maroon bracts with dusky loveliness.
  • Vision of Grandeur has both soft pink and white leaves, plus green iced with white. It is a romantic plant perfect for a country Christmas.
  • Lemon drop is as yellow as its name suggests.
  • The new curled leaf category should start with Winter Rose Red. The flower bracts are thick and curved, mimicking the appearance of a double petaled rose. Dramatic mottled leaves add drama to these beautiful plants.
  • Jingle Bells is a form with red bracts dotted with creamy pink. There are even forms marbled with white, pink or yellow.
  • And let’s not overlook the wild poinsettia plant. This unique looking dwarf poinsettia cousin can offer something a little different to the landscape.

The holidays are the time to surround yourself with beauty and peace, which is easy to do with the sheer number of elegant poinsettia available to the casual or eclectic gardener.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Helpful hints and tips on how to keep a poinsettia alive, plus 9 unique and colorful varieties. By Tovah Martin

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Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

Poinsettias have become as entwined with our Christmastime traditions as carols and mistletoe. And it’s no wonder. There’s something magical about poinsettias. Sparked by shortening days, they burst forth with dazzling color just as the world outside turns gray and cold. Right on cue, tiny topknots of flowers jut from colorful yellow pockets (called cyathia) while the bracts—actually modified leaves—take on colors that sing to you from across the room.

POINSETTIA CARE

Temperature and humidity: The ideal temperature for poinsettias is between 65 and 70 degrees. Avoid drastic temperature drops as this can cause leaves to wilt. Poinsettias are tropical natives and appreciate daily misting.

Light: When you purchase a poinsettia for the holidays, it’s primed and ready to perform and will keep on looking good for several weeks no matter where it’s displayed. To make your poinsettia last even longer, give it as much natural light as you can in midwinter, except in hot south-facing windows. Proper light, water, and warmth will help plants resist pests.

Soil: Average potting soil is fine if you’re repotting your poinsettia.

Water: Overwatering is a common killer. Remove any foil around the container that might inhibit drainage. Generally, watering once or twice a week will suffice if you moisten the soil thoroughly. Avoid wetting the foliage.

Fertilizer: Since poinsettias are blooming but not growing when purchased for the holidays, fertilizer isn’t necessary.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are poinsettias poisonous? All parts of the poinsettia plant can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested, so keep the plants away from children and pets. The latex in poinsettias can cause a skin reaction in some people—play it safe and wear gloves when pruning or repotting. (For more, see “Holiday Plants with Toxic Misconceptions” from the National Library of Medicine.)

Can poinsettias be left out in the cold? Poinsettias can’t handle frost and can be damaged or killed if temperatures go below 50 degrees, even for a limited time. That means getting a poinsettia home during the holidays can be dicey if you live in colder zones. Avoid leaving them in an unheated car, and protect it with a light covering when transporting it from store to car or car to home.

COMMON POINSETTIA VARIETIES

There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias, blooming in shades of red, pink, white, yellow, purple, and multicolored. Some of the more common varieties are:

  • Prestige Red: Classic red, a best seller.
  • Jingle Bells: Red bracts splashed with soft pink or white.
  • Winter Rose Early Red: Smaller, curled, dark red bracts that resemble a rose bloom. Also available in white, pink, and marbled.
  • Plum Pudding: The first poinsettia with purple bracts.

9 UNIQUE POINSETTIA VARIETIES

Poinsettias have come a long way from their Mexico-native species, Euphorbia pulcherrima. Decades ago, poinsettias (named for the nineteenth-century ambassador to Mexico Joel Poinsett) were bred to have broader and brighter leaves. But that was only the beginning.

Now there are many more forms to seduce us, with bracts embellished by streaks, marbling, zigzags, speckles, and creamy hems; others with dramatically curled bracts; and still others that impress with their size, from huge specimens to itty-bitty pocket-size ones. And then there are the colors: deep crimson, flaming orange, peach, and many other hues. There’s nothing blah-humbug about poinsettias these days—they’ve entered a new age. Here are a few of the more unique varieties:

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

1. ‘Ice Punch’

Marbling is all the rage in poinsettias. On this version from Ecke Ranch, lightning streaks of white emblazon the heart of red, holly leaf-shaped bracts. “What is cool,” says Jack Williams of Ecke, “is that ‘Ice Punch’ looks like frost has landed on the bracts.” And this poinsettia keeps getting better; week to week the central streak is joined by more white.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

2. ‘Carousel Pink’

Who would have thought we’d be describing poinsettia bracts as wavy, frilly, or frothy? All are apt descriptors for the salmon-pink bracts of this cultivar, from Syngenta Flowers. As with its sister ‘Carousel Dark Red’, this poinsettia begins showing color in late November. Given their curliness, the bracts are a tad smaller than your average wide-winged poinsettia. But the Carousel types branch beautifully to form a broad, strong plant that can be transported easily from the garden center without fear of damage.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

3. ‘Winter Blush’

One of the most recent bombshells to land on the poinsettia market and the latest example of the marble trend is ‘Winter Blush’, introduced two years ago. This Ecke variety was chosen for both its patterned foliage (peach and yellow twilight colors dance around the veins) and for the pronounced contrast between the pink centers and the cream etching on the margins of its bracts. Bring it to friends and family as a holiday gift without fear—the strong stems withstand breakage. It’s also prone to linger long in average home conditions.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

4. ‘Cinnamon Star’

Although red is still king for poinsettias, holiday revelers are also excited by other hues, especially around Thanksgiving. In fact, 20 to 30 percent of poinsettias sold throughout the early holiday season sport alternative shades rather than the traditional red. Syngenta Flowers is the mastermind behind this luminous coral colored version. Given the season, cinnamon seemed like the perfect name. ‘Cinnamon Star’ boasts a rounded shape with expansive, almost winged bracts, and the younger central bracts begin with a darker sizzle before fading paler with the countdown to the winter holidays.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

5. ‘Winter Rose Early Red’

No less than 30 years in the making, this novelty started the “nontraditional” streak at Ecke. For poinsettia breeders, the holy grail has been a flat-bracted, big red poinsettia. So it came as a welcome shock 14 years ago when a funky little version with a pageboy hairdo was the talk of the trials. Four years ago, the Early Series hit the scene and, quoting Jack Williams from Ecke, “something good got better.” Not only has ‘Winter Rose Early Red’ revolutionized the holiday container- plant market, it also made a splash with florists looking for a new spin on holiday décor.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

6. ‘Orange Spice’

Originally, orange poinsettias were only imagined and wished for. Early attempts were actually just a yellowish shade of red rather than their own spin on the spectrum. All that changed with the chance discovery of an orangecolored seedling at Ecke Ranch. The bracts of ‘Orange Spice’ are long, sleek, and graceful, highlighted against dark foliage. But the biggest news is the color. A true, burning sunset orange like never before, it can even be used for Halloween decoration. Better yet, it holds for Thanksgiving and is still going strong at Christmas.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

7. ‘Mars Marble’

The earliest marbled poinsettias, pioneered in the 1970s, were almost all based on red. Now other colors have joined the party, notably Syngenta Flowers’ ‘Mars Marble’, with its soft, delicate pink, and equally demure milky cream colors on open-faced, smooth-edged bracts. This poinsettia starts to show color early, and the plant maintains a sturdy, upright posture.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

8. ‘Whitestar’

Pink was the first non-red poinsettia color to become popular, in the late 1960s, but white was not far behind; the first white poinsettias were introduced in 1970. Nearly 30 years later, Syngenta Flowers came out with ‘Whitestar’, with its huge, smooth, flat bracts flaring out like doves from the central topknot of flowers. ‘Whitestar’ has a rounded habit, is generously branched, and will show color in time for Thanksgiving.

(Photo by: Rob Cardillo)

9. ‘Premium Picasso’

“Jingling” is the term breeders use to denote white speckling on poinsettia bracts. ‘Premium Picasso’, by the German plant breeder Dümmen, delivers an especially diffuse, seemingly airbrushed look. Against a pinkish-white background, cheery cherry-red flecks spangle the bracts immediately encircling the yellow and red central cyathia, which are the plant’s true flowers. Meanwhile, the outer bracts range from pure white to palest pink. The effect is a two-toned fantasia.

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Last updated 12/10/2019

Now that we are in the month of December, many of us are adding Poinsettias to our indoor plant inventory.

The ultimate Christmas plant, Poinsettias span over 100 varieties beyond the “common red plant.”

What is your Poinsettia style?

Are you a traditionalist and prefer the ubiquitous red Poinsettia commonly found at the market, or do you seek out designer varieties?

I selected some Poinsettia varieties that caught my eye while at Armstrong Garden Center and featured them on the “Home & Family” show on Hallmark Channel.

Before we begin the showcase, let’s start with the proper pronunciation of the name “Pointsettia,” and a little background information.

Repeat after me:

“Point-set-tia.”

Not, “Point-set-ah.”

Got it?

Not a big deal, but why not say it correctly?

HISTORY OF POINSETTIA

Joel Roberts Poinsett, a physician, botanist, and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, spotted a wild Poinsettia growing in a deciduous, tropical Mexican forest in the 1820’s.

(Of course, the plant wasn’t called “Poinsettia” yet, as it was named after him years later).

The plant was a Euphorbia pulcherima and part of the spurge family.

Although the plant looked nothing like what we buy today (it was tall and weedy), Poinsett took cuttings and brought them back to his South Carolina home.

He gave cuttings away to friends and started distributing plants informally.

One hundred years later, Paul Ecke Jr. started the Poinsettia industry in California.

Ecke was able to cultivate a seed that grew a full, well-branched plant instead of the wild, leggy, original plant from Mexico.

Ecke was so successful that his family at the Paul Ecke Ranch in San Diego had a virtual monopoly on Poinsettia sales in the USA for almost 75 years.

Unfortunately for the Ecke family, a horticultural researcher figured out the “secret” to growing full branched Poinsettias and competitors flourished in the 1990’s.

The Paul Ecke Ranch developed the most patented, named varieties of Poinsettias in the world!

POINSETTIA VARIETIES

In order to appreciate different Poinsettia varieties, take a good look at some of the major features.

1. Bract color, shape and texture.

“Bracts” are the colored leaves that give Poinsettias their signature look.

Bracts are not flowers. Rather, they are more like brilliantly colored “modified leaves.”

The function of bracts are to attract the attention of pollinators to the Poinsettia’s very small and easily overlooked flowers, called cyathia, found in the center of the bract.

The following Poinsettias all have distinct bract shape, texture and color.

The stems and flower buds are also uniquely colored.

“Visions of Grandeur”

“Visions of Grandeur” has a soft-textured bract, similar to a large rose petal.

Soft shades of pink, yellow and creme contrast with the dark, emerald green leaves.

This is a truly oppulent and luxurious Poinsettia.

One of my favorites, I can see Visions of Grandeur decorating a country or French style home.

Very romantic and pairs beautifully with winter white and some pearls!

“Winter Rose Red”

The “Winter Rose Red” Poinsettia looks exactly like its name!

The bracts on Winter Rose Red are very curvy and turgid, creating the look of a rose or geranium.

The vivid red petals form a rosette, creating a very unique Poinsettia.

“Carousel Red”

“Carousel Red” Poinsettia has scalloped and wavy bract edges.

Close up of Carousel Red Poinsettia and its small, yellow flowers.

“Ice Punch”

“Ice Punch” Poinsettia has a cool red bract with white highlights.

Close up of Ice Punch Poinsettia.

“Monet”

“Monet” is a vision of loveliness in soft peach tones.

Leaves or bracts of Monet are strong and shapely.

DISPLAYING POINSETTIAS

Instead of just placing your Poinsettia with its cellophane wrapper on the table or floor, combine it with a few complimentary house plants.

Create a vignette and use lightweight containers.

GardenStone makes gorgeous, high end planters in stone, metal, and lightweight fiberglass.

I selected the lightweight fiberglass container in a deep bronze color.

It’s so much easier to move around a lightweight pot during the holidays!

Here’s a smaller bronze GardenStone planter.

Beautiful quality materials.

Fooled my eyes!

1. Place in bright room but not in direct sunlight.

2. Maintain temperatures at daytime-: 65-75 degrees, nightime- 50-65 degrees.

3. Touch soil and if it feels on the dry side, water the Poinsetta. Make sure to remove or slit the decorative sleeve.

4. Place far from doors and heater drafts.

SELECTING POINSETTIA PLANTS

Look for these plant traits in a healthy Poinsettia:

–Look for the flower cluster (cycathia) and select plants with as many unopened buds as possible for longer bract display.
–Strong, sturdy stems.
–Dark green foliage (no yellow leaves)

BONUS VIDEO!

Please watch the following video I produced and appeared in promoting a beautiful, new pink Poinsettia variety called “Princettia!”

What are your favorite Poinsettias?

Can I answer your questions?

SHIRLEY’S GARDEN WORLD REPORT SHOW!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

If you’ve never watched my online show, “Garden World Report,” I invite you to watch my Christmas special.

Subscribe to Garden World Report on Blip TV for upcoming shows.

Shirley

If you stop by the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) through New Year’s Day, you can see ‘Jingle Bell’ (pictured, above right) and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ that are red with pink or white splashes. You might also enjoy finding ‘Peppermint Ruffles’ with its pink tones or ‘Autumn Leaves’ displaying unexpected peaches and golds. These are just a few of the more than 30 varieties of poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima and hybrids) in the USBG’s 2017 poinsettia display.

Poinsettia display at the United States Botanic Garden.

The gardeners have grown more than 3,000 poinsettia plants to brighten up the Conservatory’s annual holiday exhibit “Season’s Greenings: Roadside Attractions” and celebrate the stories of this plant that is now closely tied to American winter holidays. But this wasn’t always the case. It has just been in the last 50 years that the poinsettia has crossed into mass production and become a staple in American homes every December.

The poinsettia is native to the deciduous tropical forest of the Pacific coast of southern Mexico. There it grows as a large, lanky shrub reaching up to 30 feet in height, where it blooms in late fall. The plant’s common name refers to Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Minister to Mexico, who sent seeds and samples of the plant back to the United States in the late 1820s.

During the 1800s, the poinsettia was a greenhouse curiosity often used as a short lived, but distinctive, red cut flower. It wasn’t until the 1920s and 1930s that additional colors were brought into the trade. In the 1960s, the introduction of varieties that produced bushy, compact plants led to mass production and marketing. Breeders continue to develop long-lasting poinsettias, and more than 100 new cultivars are in development.

Lots of care and patience
For gardeners, poinsettias are one of the most nail-biting crops to grow. There is a lot of pressure in making it a perfect yield. Typically, poinsettia crops require a very specific date for coloring up and looking spectacular. At the USBG, an expert team of gardeners cares for the annual poinsettia crop with daily attentiveness starting in July. A myriad of challenges lurk along the way including insects, diseases, watering challenges, and light infiltration during the time when the plant requires unbroken darkness — so many things can ruin the crop.

Gardener Dyanne Avery leads the nurturing of the poinsettia crop, with the help and support of the entire Exhibits and Displays team. More than a half-dozen gardeners from this team use their extensive horticultural knowledge and experience to ensure this holiday crop is ready for its big debut in late November.

USBG creates new cultivar
Most consumers will never see the tall, leafless plant from Mexico that most modern poinsettias come from. Thanks to a new variety created by USBG Plant Curator Bill McLaughlin, visitors can now get a sense of the poinsettia’s original form. McLaughlin used two heirloom cultivars, ‘Oak Leaf’ and ‘St. Louis,’ to create new, unnamed poinsettia cultivars that show characteristics similar to the original Euphorbia pulcherrima plants. These original plants and the newly created USBG cultivars are taller, with lower leaves that fall off more quickly than in commercial cultivars.

“I wanted to be able to provide visitors a sense of the wild forms of the plant, which are generally unavailable today,” said McLaughlin. “This new crossing gives a strong visual contrast with its long, lanky and leafless stems in comparison to the modern compact and leafy showpiece that can tolerate typical indoor house conditions.

“By making these crosses with old, heirloom varieties, we are taking the plants back toward the wild types that might be found in the wild in Mexico.”

Living history on display
The USBG’s poinsettia display showcases poinsettia history: heirlooms and popular cultivars from the early 1900s, interesting stories and varieties from the past 50 years, and more than 15 new varieties that are just now appearing for sale in garden centers or are still being trialed and could become available in the next few years.

“Euphorbia cornastra” at the USBG.

Of these new varieties, few have produced more questions and comments than the new Princettia(r) and Luv U series hybrids. The hybrids display a profusion of brighter floral bracts (the colorful leaves that frequently get mistaken for poinsettia flowers) ranging from intense red and pink colors to pure white with smaller, darker leaves than traditional poinsettias. They are a cross between Euphorbia pulcherrima and Euphorbia cornastra.

The E. cornastra is also a tall, lanky shrub native to Mexico, but with small, bright white bracts. While the new hybrid crosses are beginning to appear on the market for sale, few people get to see the other “parent” plant itself. Two years ago, the USBG was able to acquire a seed for the E. cornastra, which it has successfully grown. This year for the first time, the USBG has a blooming plant on display alongside the poinsettia hybrids created from it. It is one of the few places in the United States where visitors can see this plant.

New poinsettia hybrid ‘Luv U Hot Pink.’

This new line of breeding has reinvigorated the holiday popular crop with its brighter colors and abundance of bracts. Come see six of these new hybrid cultivars in the USBG display, and maybe locate gardener Dyanne Avery’s “splashy” favorite named ‘Premium Picasso.’ We think you’ll find your own new favorite variety in this beautiful plant exhibit on display through January 1, 2018.

For more information about visiting the USBG during the holidays, visit www.USBG.gov/SeasonsGreenings.

The Business Advantages Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers Deliver

If you’re wanting a plant to provide the rich red of Christmas, look no further than the poinsettia, but this holiday icon has a lot more variety than people think.

There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available and they come in shades of white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled along with the traditional red. The colorful portion of the plant is not the flower, but its modified leaves known as bracts.

The color of the bracts can actually be determined before the poinsettia blooms by checking the stem, or petiole, color. Petioles that are red will produce red bracts, while light green stems mean the bracts will be white. Varied bracts have petioles with a combination of light green and red.

You can check out history of the poinsettia here and view some of the popular and new novelty varieties that are on the market below.

Winter Rose

Photo: Ball Horticulture Company

The variety sticks with the classic red, but mixes things up with the puckered, down curling bracts and leaves. This poinsettia is for those who like to stray from the conventional, but not too far.

Christmas Glory White

Photo: Ball Horticulture Company

White is not a new shade for the poinsettia but Christmas Glory White is new for this year. It is a creamy white, and has large heart-shaped bracts. This poinsettia can work with subdued décor or an all-white Christmas theme.

Ice Punch

Photo: Ball Horticulture Company

In the variegated realm, Ice Punch is a nice mixture of rouge and cream. Its bracts are pointer than most poinsettias’, making this variety all the more eye-catching. This cultivar can work well as a statement piece on its own or in groups.

Envy

Photo: Ball Horticulture Company

Another new addition for 2016 is the chartreuse poinsettia known as Envy, playing off the phrase “green with envy.” This poinsettia is for those who want to stand out from the crowd completely.

Autumn Leaves 2016

Photo: Ball Horticulture Company

As the name suggests, this poinsettia looks more like it should be sitting beside a pumpkin or cornucopia instead of a Christmas tree. Its bracts are a pale peachy yellow sprinkled with pink. This poinsettia works well for those who aren’t ready to say good bye to the fall colors just yet.

Top 5 Poinsettia Varieties

Did you know that the showy, colored part of a Poinsettia are actually modified leaves called “bracts” and not flowers as most people think? In Central America, the Poinsettia is often called the “Flame Leaf” describing these bright, red modified leaves. Over the years we have seen Poinsettias evolve from the traditional red variety (introduced to the United States from Mexico in 1828 by Ambassador Dr. Joel Robert Poinsett) to other colors including white, cream, pink, variegated and more. At Fairview Garden Center, we have been growing Poinsettias for over 38 years. We pride ourselves in growing the best quality and most unique varieties.

Here are our Top 5 Poinsettia Varieties:

Ice Punch is an exciting new variety that is distinguished by its blush of pin on red foliage. Like a rising star trying to gain attention, this variety is moving up the charts and is beating other poinsettias to the “punch”.

Tapestry

Tapestry is a variety that offers a blast of color and pizzazz for a festive time of year. Featuring a mosaic pattern of green, cream, burgundy and red, this compact poinsettia makes friends and families feel right at home for the holidays.

Winter Rose is a dashing variety that is appropriately titles for its stunning display of twisting bright red bracts. The gift of life is obtainable this holiday season with the gift of a Winter Rose.

Shimmer Surprise

Shimmer Surprise is a novelty Poinsettia that is bursting at the seams with life and artistic flare. Like a painter mad with passion, it is as though Mother Nature splashed her brush on its gorgeous red foliage to give us this shimmering gem.

Peterstar Marble

Peterstar Marble is a rather classy and dainty performing variety of Poinsettia. An elegant growing habit, it features a lightly colored hue of pink in its center that is dominated by a cheery cream margin. The Holidays have never looked so bright!

Interested in adding a poinsettia to your home this season? Contact Fairview Garden Center today and we’ll help you pick the perfect one for your home.

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