By Gary Jones
If you’re looking for a twist on tradition or a new take on holiday style, the new specialty poinsettias are for you. Long favorites of interior decorators, these will add sophisticated style to your festivities.
You’ll find new poinsettia colors (and color combinations) and new flower forms as well. Even the leaves on some varieties have a bright new appearance. And along with new looks, breeders have improved poinsettias so they last beautifully for weeks and weeks with little care. During a busy holiday season, little care can be a big benefit.
Tops on most people’s list are a couple of two-toned beauties. Poinsettia Ice Punch has rich, fuchsia-toned flowers with irregular icy-white shadings down the center of each petal. Ice Crystals have petals of creamy white with wide edges of deep salmon-red.
The traditional crimson-red flowers of Tapestry are set off by spring-green leaves with bright, golden variegation. It’s truly a striking combination.
If red just doesn’t work with your color scheme, then spark things up a bit with poinsettias Maroon or Burgundy. Maroon has very large flowers of chestnut red or claret, which combines beautifully with neutrals and warm wood tones. Burgundy is just that — a poinsettia in deep, rich wine.
If you really want to give your holidays a jolt, then consider Orange Spice. This stunner is a warm burnt-orange. Cinnamon Star has creamy gold petals distinctly dusted with nutmeg and cinnamon. Use them both for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Visions of Grandeur is an over-the-top name for a poinsettia that’s worthy of it. The huge flowers are gorgeously ruffled and gathered. The color is elusive — a heavenly blend of cream and soft pink with touches of soft salmon brushed with gold.
Carousel Red has ruffled and crimped, flaring petals with prominent gold centers. (It’s these tiny, golden, center nubs that are technically the poinsettia flowers. The colorful “petals” are really bracts or colored leaves.)
These decorator poinsettias sell out fast, so purchase them early in the season from your neighborhood garden center. You likely won’t find them after the first week of December.
Once you get them home, give poinsettias bright, indirect light and put them where temperatures are reasonably constant. They’ll also be fine outdoors where they’re protected from direct sun and chilling winds.
Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Don’t let them sit in standing water. There’s no need to feed them — the grower’s done that for you.
—Gary Jones is Chief Horticulturist at Armstrong Garden Centers, which has locations on Friars Road and Morena Boulevard. Email your drought and gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.