The bright red and deep green colors of poinsettias have become a traditional part of the holiday season. But what if red and green don't suit your fancy?
Poinsettia breeders have now given shoppers many more choices than just red.
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|DON'T WANT RED POINSETTIAS? Plant breeders have heard you and now the holiday plants come in many shades of pink, white, yellow, orange-red and purple-red with speckled and marbled varieties, too. But you want to mix red in with your new colors? Not a problem:ÿ surveys show 90 percent of the poinsettias sold in Georgia are red.|
"Poinsettias can be found in strong white, creamy white, light pink, solid pink, bright orange-red, deep purple-red and traditional red," said Paul Thomas, an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "There are speckled and marbled varieties, too."
Of the new colors, Thomas said, shoppers favor the white varieties, especially Gutbier V-17 Angelika White. It has large bracts and is a big, vigorous plant.
Shoppers are split on pink poinsettias. "The pinks seem to be a tossup," he said. "People either love them or hate them." He recommends "Pelfi Flirt" to people who fancy pink.
"The speckled poinsettias come from two cell types that create natural variegations," Thomas said. "The marbled varieties are more smoothly blended and look as if an artist painted on the bracts."
Not all of the new poinsettia colors survived. "About four years ago, a yellow variety called Lemon Drop was released," said Thomas. "Consumers said, 'Yuck, that's not a Christmas color, and we don't want it.'"
Despite the new colors, red still ranks highest in poinsettia sales.
"A typical greenhouse propagates hundreds of reds and only dozens of the other varieties," Thomas said. "The marketing surveys show that people still prefer red, and 90 percent of the poinsettias sold are red varieties."
Thomas said the new variegated and marbled varieties may be hard to find, but not impossible. "You can call your local greenhouse or florist to search for a new variety such as the marbled poinsettias," he said.
(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)