Floral Tips & Info
Holiday PoinsettiasPoinsettias are the most popular flowering potted plant. Their popularity comes not only from the colors that match the season, but also from the good value that they bring. Quality plants last for months, with minimal care, and are a great, holiday, accent anywhere. The key to is to be sure that you buy the plant from someone you trust, and to be aware of a few key points. Never buy a plant that is in a sleeve, or other packaging, that covers the leaves and bracts (the colored leaves that are often referred to as flowers). The plastic or paper covering traps ethylene gas and senescence, the shedding of leaves, occurs. Poinsettias do not hold up well when packed in sleeves and boxes for extended periods, so it is best to buy locally grown plants.
Our poinsettias are grown in our Bucks County greenhouses. The varieties are selected to perform best in our area, and are grown using modern techniques, to minimize the use of chemicals. One interesting technique is the means by which the height of the plants is controlled. Without some type of control, the plants would become leggy, tall, stretched out, and prone to breakage What used to be done with chemical growth retardants is now done with a procedure called negative DIF. Normally, days are warm, and nights are cold. The larger the difference, the more the plants will stretch. Using computer controls, from 5:30am to 10am the temperature in our greenhouse is reduced to 5 degrees lower than what the night temperature was. This reverses the normal “warm day, cold night” trend, and results in a sturdier, more beautifully shaped plant. Each stem still has the same number of leaves, but they are no longer spaced widely along the stem.
There are other cultural issues that need to be addressed. Length of night is critical in triggering blooming. The buds set as the number of hours of darkness increases. As the nights grow longer in the fall, the plants begin to turn their characteristic holiday colors. The most important factor is to have the plants at their fullest for the holidays. This used to be almost exclusively a function of the temperature at which the plants were grown. Without sophisticated controls, the bloom time was often at the mercy of the late summer, and fall weather. Now, the different variety’s genetics play a much larger role. Temperature is still important, but by growing varieties genetically programmed to bloom on specific dates, it is possible to have early, mid-season, and late bloomers all in the same greenhouse. Since most of our plants are for Christmas gifts and decorations, we have selected varieties that will be at their peak throughout the holiday period. Because red is the most popular color, we have selected the best red variety available, and varieties of other colors that have the same cultural requirements-
- White Snowcap
- Pink Maren
- Cortez Burgundy, a beautiful deep rich burgundy color
- Marble, pink with white edges
- Jingle Bells, red bracts with pink speckles completely at random, no two bracts are alike.
- Winter Rose, a novelty variety with smaller tight crinkly flowers that can be used as a cut flower.
- Prestige, a beautiful true red with deep rich green foliage. A very sturdy variety that resists breakage. The perfect mix of bright red bracts, and dark green leaves, makes this the ideal Holiday plant.
There are many other varieties available. We have selected only the best. Older varieties are prone to leaf drop and don’t have the growth habit to achieve a perfect shape as our selections do. With the new varieties, and proper care, you can buy a poinsettia in late November, and enjoy it’s beauty throughout the holiday season, and beyond. Whichever poinsettia you select , put it in a place that all can see. Keep it away from cold drafts, and direct heat, water it thoroughly before it completely dries out and enjoy what nature has given us.
If you have any other questions or need help, please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-659-9200.
Charles F. Kremp 3rd is owner of Kremp Florist with shops in Philadelphia and the suburbs. Kremp’s main store in Willow Grove was recently remodeled and has been ranked as one of the finest in the country.
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