Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on November 24, 2009. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Poinsettias bring visions of grandeur
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
When I go to the annual California Pack Trials, it is rare that a poinsettia makes me take the lens cover off my camera. Visions of Grandeur is one that did. It absolutely mesmerized me with its shades of rose pink, cream and yellow.
The phrase “visions of grandeur” usually brings a snicker similar to the one brought on by “delusions of grandeur.” We typically consider grandeur unachievable...until now. This relatively new poinsettia may have achieved that lofty aspiration.
To me, Visions of Grandeur is the prettiest poinsettia ever developed. Unless you think red is the only color for poinsettias, you may feel the same way.
It is elegant, fit for royalty and will make you want to do whatever it takes to get one. It’s the one you would want to place on a grand piano for everyone to see.
Last season, I saw two more poinsettias I really like: Tapestry and Ice Punch. Tapestry has the red bracts that are so popular, but the leaves cause the real commotion. They are variegated but not like other variegated poinsettias. The leaves are green and set off with margins of yellow to cream. This is one striking poinsettia.
Ice Punch is different. When you see it, you will be forever hooked. The leaves are dark green, but the cranberry-red bracts with white variegation make this a real showstopper.
You may think this poinsettia’s variegated red and white bracts are similar to Jingle Bells’ bracts, but they are not. The margins and veins of Ice Punch are cranberry red, and each bract looks like it was boldly hand painted with white. I’ve seen nothing else like it in the market.
And speaking of the market, you may find it to be challenging. One well-known supplier lists close to 100 varieties available to growers, so you can see that the chance of your finding one of the three I mentioned is slim. One way to look at this dilemma is to realize that there are 97 other great selections I did not write about.
Why not shop this weekend so you can enjoy poinsettias for the whole season? Look for strong, stiff stems, good leaf and bract retention, and no signs of wilting, breaking or drooping. Carefully inspect packaged poinsettias before purchasing them. Poinsettias left in sleeves for an extended period of time may become unhealthy.
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.
When possible, place the plant in the sunniest exposure 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 because freezing outdoor temperatures can damage them.
The 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 major problem results from decorative wraps that can trap water and suffocate the roots. Be sure to pour out any excess water.
Poinsettias are beautiful Christmas plants, so use them boldly in all areas of your home.