Love them or hate them, the new colors and styles of the old stand by Christmas flower, the Poinsettia are a big hit with consumers.
The so called "novelty varieties" of Poinsettias have become very popular in the last few years. Unlike the dyed leaf, painted or glued and glittered Poinsettias these plants are really bred for the colors and leaf shapes you see. But, of course, the prices of these plants reflect that. You can expect to pay at least $10 or more depending on the size of the plant. The "Shimmer Pink", "Strawberries and Cream" and "White Glitter" Poinsettias pictured on this page cost $9.99 each from Publix.
Every year the National Poinsettia Cultivar Trials are held which were were established to provide an independent evaluation of the many new Poinsettia cultivars being introduced. Three universities (Purdue University, University of Florida - Gainesville, North Carolina State University) and five commercial breeders (Paul Ecke Ranch, Syngenta Flowers, Selecta First Class, Dummen, Florema) sponsor the program.
Common Name: Poinsettia
Botanical Name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
Origin: Central America and Mexico
Zones: 9 - 11
Rate of Growth: Fast
Salt Tolerance: None
Soil Requirements: Most any well drained soil
Water Requirements: Moderately drought tolerant, but look better and hold leaves longer with an adequate supply of water
Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly
Light Requirements: Full sun
Form: Upright to sprawling shrub
Leaves: Simple, alternate, ovate to fiddle-shaped, 7" long, entire or lobed, prominent veins, milky sap.
Flowers: Inconspicuous yellow and green flowers known as cyathia surrounded by colored bracts -- colors run from bright to blood red, white, vermillion, apricot, salmon, lemon-yellow, pink, pink and white, marbled, spotted, and variegated.
Fruits: 3-celled capsule
Pests or diseases: Mites, scale, thrips, caterpillars, root rot
Uses: Specimen plant
Bad Habits: Must have a period of dark rest before leaves will change in winter. Despite the common belief to the contrary, Poinsettias are not poisonous.
Cost: $$ -- Very reasonable