Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
I may not really care for Christmas trees, but all the myriad kinds of poinsettias never fail to amaze me. These make great cut flowers.
Every year, we have more colors and kinds available, and this year is no exception. When I went shopping, I was struck by all the beautiful kinds that the chain stores had. Whatever color scheme you may have in your house, it is possible to get gorgeous poinsettias to use as cut flowers that will complement your décor, and add a touch of the holidays.
First, I want to share my reaction to the painted poinsettias. I had read reports earlier in the summer that these were coming, but I wasn’t really prepared for their full impact.
This event is so exciting it made the front page of the Kansas City Star. The newspaper had a story about a greenhouse with blue poinsettias. So there. We may not have a true blue rose yet, but we can still enjoy blue poinsettias even if they happen to be painted.
My local newspaper also had an article, but that was towards the back of the Home and Garden section.
Anyway, there’s a wholesale greenhouse in North Carolina that is supplying a lot of stores with the plants this year for the first time. Originally, the greenhouse had planned to do maybe ten thousand or so. But not so. These babes turned out to be so popular they’ve done six times that number, and would do more if they had the special coloring that is needed for this.
All over the country now, people can get painted poinsettias in a variety of colors. So far the shades include blue, purple, orange, gold, apricot, vivid pink, lilac, and even green. For additional interest, the tinted ones are sometimes sprinkled with touches of glitter as well. These could almost be done on demand in school colors, but the market hasn’t developed enough yet for this to really happen. The colors I’d like to see would be gold and silver because these are beautiful traditional colors for Christmas.
Usually the greenhouses actually start with a white poinsettia if they plan
to paint it. When you really think about it, painted poinsettias aren’t revolutionary by any means. I’m sure when you’ve gone to buy cut flowers by the stem that there are lots of tinted carnations. These are dyed by placing
the stems in colored water.
In any case, the idea for the painted poinsettias started in Europe, and eventually made its way to the U.S. Dyed heathers have been around for some time in the United Kingdom, and the idea may finally be catching on for other kinds of plants.
In addition to the lovely painted ones, I saw all different varieties of the Winter Rose series. These have puckered or crinkled bracts. These bracts, or flowers as we call them, are a little daintier than the usual flamboyant poinsettia. What really struck me about these was their elegance. Everything about them is just so regal. A friend said they looked as if they’d been caught in the rain and shrunk. They cost a little more than the regular reds, but in the stores I visited the Winter Roses were in larger pots too, which can also make a difference in price.