‘Tis the season for holiday plants. And Poinsettias, those flame-red symbols of the holiday spirit, are not originally from a wintery, festive, snow covered place in Scandinavia. They are of Hispanic roots. In the tropical habitat and hills of Mexico, Euphorbia pulcherrima is a winter flowering shrub that grows up to10 feet tall! North of the border, our love affair with the plant began when Joel R. Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico and an amateur botanist, spotted those brilliant blooms and sent several back to his home in South Carolina. However, the Ecke family is responsible for mass producing the most purchased holiday plant and bringing it into many of our homes. Today, Paul Ecke of Encinitas, California supplies the cuttings that create most of the Poinsettias sold throughout the world. www.ecke.com If you are one of the patient, fortunate few who still have their Poinsettia from last year, I’m sure you’ve Googled or Yahoo’d how to get it to re-bloom or color up again. If you purchase a new Poinsettia, these tips will ensure its healthy life throughout the holiday season and beyond. Choosing plants with full color bracts/leaves that are showing too much green indicates immaturity. The small, green and yellow “berry like in the center of the plant are the true flowers, called cyathia, and they should look plump and fresh. Upon receipt of the plant, unsleeve immediately. Prolonged storage of the plant in any kind of sleeve may result in epinasty, a condition characterized by leaf drop and bract droop. The best way to remove the sleeve is to gently tear it from the bottom along the seam or cut it off.
Make sure the plant is watered thoroughly before setting it out for display. The soil should feel moist to the touch at all times. However, when watering, the excess water should be allowed to drain through the holes in the bottom of the plant. Discard all excess water. Never water with ice. Allow to dry before watering thoroughly again. The ideal light is a bright area with a room temperature of 65-75 degrees, but they can tolerate cooler, intermittent temperatures if covered. Poinsettias damage easily, so they need protection from the wind. Contrary to popular opinion, Poinsettias are not poisonous. Extensive research conducted at the Ohio State University, and according to the POISINDEX information service, the primary information service used by the majority of poison control centers around the country, a 50 lb. child would have to ingest 1 ¼ pounds of Poinsettias bracts ( 500-600) to cause toxicity. However the latex sap can cause irritation. Avoid hand-eye contact. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS! Interior Gardens Austin, LLC (512) 930-0541
White – Pink – Red Poinsettias
Strawberries and Cream
Interior Gardens Top 10 Live Christmas Tree Picks
1. Fraser Fir The Fraser Fir may be the perfect holiday tree. Its attractive 1" needles are silvery-green and soft to the touch. Because there is space between the branches, the Fraser is easier to decorate than some trees. The firm branches hold heavier ornaments. The trees grow to almost perfect shapes, and as long as the cut tree is kept properly watered, the Frasier Fir has excellent needle retention. ( above photo ) 2. Noble Fir The Noble Fir is deep green in color and has unusually lovely branch shape. Boughs of this tree are often made into fresh wreaths. Its branches are sturdy yet the needles are not too sharp to decorate easily. Like the Fraser Fir, the Noble's branches have good spacing between branches so it's easy to hang ornaments on them. 3. Colorado Blue Spruce A Colorado Blue Spruce has a nice pyramidal shape with strong limbs that can hold heavy ornaments. The Blue Spruce is known for its lovely blue foliage which can also appear silvery. If your decorating scheme does not include this bluish tint, this tree may not be right for your home.
4. Grand Fir The Grand Fir has a glossy dark green color with needles that are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. This tree is soft to the touch and may not be able to hold heavier ornaments. It's a pretty tree that grows as high as 300 feet and it's becoming more popular for homes. 5. Balsam Fir The Balsam Fir is a beautiful dark-green color with airy, flexible branches that may not be able to hold heavy ornaments. It has an attractive form, it holds its needles well, and gives off a pleasant fragrance for your home. 6. White Fir (or Concolor Fir) The National Christmas Tree Association notes that "Needles are usually 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch long, pointed or notched at the tip, bluish-green when young turning dull green with age.... As a Christmas tree, white fir has good foliage color, a pleasing natural shape and aroma, and good needle retention." 7. Eastern White Pine Branches from the White Pine are often used in garlands, wreaths, and centerpieces due to their long, feathery, soft needles. Though it is a beautiful tree, branches can be a bit too flexible to support heavier decorations. Its lush fullness also makes it difficult to squeeze in ornaments. The White Pine needles last a long time when properly watered. 8. Douglas Fir A Douglas Fir is beautiful Christmas tree with soft shiny green needles. It may be difficult to decorate if the branches have been sheared into a perfect conical shape, leaving too little space between branches to hang decorations. If this variety of tree is available, you might want to take an unbreakable ornament with you when you buy a tree to see if you can put decorations on it. Choose a Douglas Fir that is freshly cut and keep it well watered. 9. Scotch Pine You'll want to wear gloves when decorating a Scotch Pine, since its needles can be sharp as pins! Also, due to heavy shearing, there may be little space between branches for ornaments. The Nat'l Christmas Tree Association notes "the Scotch pine is known for its excellent needle retention and good keep-ability. It resists drying and if permitted to become dry does not drop its needles." 10. Norway Spruce The Norway Spruce is a beautiful tree but does not hold its needles well, and should be purchased just a week or so before December 25th. The National Christmas Tree Association notes that the "overall color of Norway spruce is fair to excellent, but needle retention is considered poor unless the trees are cut fresh and kept properly watered.â€?
Published on Feb 2, 2011