Dyes broaden range of poinsettia colors

Home and Garden

December 03, 2006|By Norman Winter | Norman Winter,McClatchy-Tribune

This looks to be a banner year for poinsettias from the standpoint of quality, color and innovation.

The hot new `Diamond Frost' euphorbia, a relative of the poinsettia, is a "tough as nails" type plant that produces hundreds of tiny flowers. Growers are using `Diamond Frost' this Christmas season in partnership with poinsettias and the results are quite impressive.

One grower we filmed recently was using one of the hot new varieties of red poinsettias called `Prestige Scarlet.' In the mixed containers they were placed with the white-flowered `Diamond Frost,' giving the impression of the red poinsettia sitting on a bed of new fallen snow.

The `Diamond Frost' is well suited to every color of poinsettia on the market, and color is where I want to go next.

Growers, garden centers and florists alike may offer you an array of colors. With today's dyes, no longer do you have to wonder how to make a red or pink poinsettia work with your indoor colors. Most of the colors are very natural looking when applied to the poinsettia.

In our great room, where we do most of the decorating for Christmas, the predominant color is orange. The orange just doesn't work with the typical red of the poinsettia and sure pink selections. But wait until you see what happens when a grower selects a pink variety and uses the orange dye. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Add just a dash of lilac or blue and some glitter and the look is worthy of a photograph.

It is hard to imagine poinsettias with names like `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?

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 temperatures ranging from 70 degrees (day) to 60 degrees (night). Your plant will last longer if you provide a similar environment.

Two problems with poinsettias involve watering. Forgetting to water can be disastrous for a poinsettia. Examine the soil daily. When the surface is dry, 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.

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