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5 Tips for Selecting Your Poinsettia

poinsettia-globeIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Behnke’s. Our Christmas shop is beautifully decorated, the first set of Christmas trees and greens have arrived and the greenhouses are filling up with Poinsettias, Cyclamen and Christmas Cactus.

Our Poinsettias are beautiful again this year: our extremely picky buyer visits local growers throughout the season to select the best plants. Red is hands-down the most popular color, but If you’re not a fan of the traditional, why not try something different?

There are numerous “novelty” varieties to choose from in some wild shapes, colors and sizes. Or, if you just want a splash of color in your home or office try a white, pink or marble poinsettia.

Marble is a definite stand-out, featuring eye-catching salmon-pink-and-cream-bicolor bracts perfect for use as a dining room table centerpiece or on a corner table, any place you need a little splash of color.

5 Tips for selecting your poinsettia: When selecting poinsettias, look at the true flowers-the tiny, yellow flowers are found at the center of the colored bracts. The bracts are modified, colored leaves that surround the flowers. Select plants with the flowers that are as closed as possible as these will last the longest.

Christmas Cactus and Cyclamen

1. Choose plants that are dense, well branched without broken leaves or branches. The leaves below the colored bracts should be healthy green in color.

2. Poinsettias are a tropical plant so before taking your plant away from Behnke’s our staff will sleeve your plant to protect them from the wind and freezing temperatures.

3. Do not leave your poinsettia in an unheated car for any length of time. Transport them in the heated vehicle, do not put them in the trunk or the back of a pick up truck. These plants can be killed or severely damaged by the cold weather.

4. When you arrive at your destination, carefully remove the plastic or paper sleeve and place in a well- lit area away from drafts. Don’t let the plant remain in the sleeve for more than a few hours, it makes the leaves and flowers droop permanently.

5. Water thoroughly when the first couple of inches of the soil becomes dry. Do not leave your plant sitting in water for any length of time, as they do not like to have wet feet. If there is a pot cover (brightly colored paper) remove prior to watering, don’t worry you can put it back on once the plant drains. Now sit back and enjoy!

By Marian Parsley, Annual Plants Buyer

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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