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Painted poinsettias dazzle inside the home
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
I just placed a poinsettia in my living room called Orange Wonder. It is incredibly beautiful and what I tell you about it will most likely stretch your poinsettia comfort zone a little.
This year, growers started introducing poinsettias that have been painted or dyed. Now don't come up with a negative idea about this. I was very surprised at first. Has something gone dreadfully wrong in the world, I wondered? Perhaps this is more of the Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas debate.
Then I saw a big room full of all of the colors, and I gazed in awe at their beauty. I wanted every color. When I brought them to the office for our big district meeting, everyone overlooked the incredibly beautiful red ones as if they were passé.
It is hard to imagine poinsettias with names like Gold Splash, Orange Wonder and Golden Melody, but you can have a poinsettia in just about any color to fit your home's color scheme.
How about decorating in your school's colors? In years past, Bulldog fans have been able to enjoy maroon and white varieties. This year, Ole Miss fans will be able to select blue poinsettias to place beside red ones. If you are a Florida Gator or Auburn Tiger fan, you have the option of decorating with orange and blue poinsettias.
It's not unusual for poinsettias to keep looking good into spring with a little water management and fertilizer. But who wants a red poinsettia at Easter? Instead, how about keeping your lilac-colored poinsettias until Easter. They would look great with some pink eggs underneath them or surrounding some white Easter lilies.
There are 10 Fantasy Colors being introduced along with the glitter option. Those with glitter have been a hit with everyone who has seen the selections I brought to the office.
Transport poinsettias carefully. Strong winds or short-term exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees can permanently damage the plants. Use plant sleeves or large shopping bags for added protection in cold weather.
During the holidays, use the poinsettia for decoration. When possible, place the plant in the sunniest location in your home. A window that faces south, east or west is better than one facing north. Don't let the bracts touch the cold windowpanes, since freezing outdoor temperatures can cause damage.
Your poinsettia was greenhouse grown at day temperatures of 70 to 72 degrees and night temperatures of about 60 degrees. Your plant will last longer if you provide a similar environment.
Two problems most often encountered with poinsettias involve watering. Forgetting to water can be disastrous for a poinsettia. Examine the soil daily. When the surface is dry to the touch, water until it runs freely out the drainage hole in the container. The second problem results from decorative wraps that can trap water and suffocate roots. Be sure to pour out any excess water.
It is rather late in the poinsettia season, but check your favorite garden center to see if they have the new painted selections. You'll be surprised at their beauty.