__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 68

Although the plants require about 12 to 16 hours of total darkness a day to achieve their color while growing, once they’re in your home, Darlene said their color should stay under most normal home lighting situations. Poinsettias are native to Central America, where they naturally bloom during the winter. They were first brought to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first ambassador from the U.S. to Mexico. Their appeal, especially for holiday arrangements, grew in the early 1900s, and plant breeders have been perfecting the bright reds, bold pinks and snowy whites ever since. During the season, the varieties aren’t just for sale, at Gainan’s, they are also on show. Visitors can look at each plant, voting on their favorite. While the contest is a way to interact with shoppers, it offers valuable insight for growers as to which poinsettias have the most appeal. appearance. That’s why at 5 p.m. every night, blackout curtains are pulled across the greenhouse ceiling and the plants go into almost total darkness. They won’t be awakened until 8 a.m. the next morning. Even stray light from streetlights and passing car headlights can disrupt the coloring process, Darlene says. “When you’re growing it’s very important to have that shading,” she says. “Without it, they can revert back to green.”

“Of course, red is always number one,” Darlene says. As soon as last of the parade of holiday beauties goes out the door at Gainan’s Heights Garden Center, the focus shifts to spring. In January, the first deliveries of tiny plants for the spring and summer growing season start arriving. Darlene says at Gainan’s there’s always a little something green to appreciate. ✻

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR POINSETTIA You’ll want to take proper care of your poinsettia to keep it looking vibrant and fresh throughout the holiday season. To start, you’ll want to be sure it’s wrapped well to protect it from December’s cold temperatures. Exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees for more than a few minutes can cause the plant to drop its leaves. Once home, place the plant in an area of your house with natural light, but not direct sun. Avoid placing it where it will be hit with cold drafts and keep it away from heat sources like radiators and heating vents. Color is best maintained when the plant is kept between 72 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Water your plant when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Saturate it thoroughly, until water runs through. Let it drain well, and don’t let it sit in water. Poinsettias are not poisonous but likely to cause an upset stomach if ingested by pets and people, so keep them out of reach.

68

YVW MAGAZINE

Profile for yellowstonevalleywoman

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...