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Christmas Poinsettias

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December 1, 2019

We’re in the season to start decorating for Christmas like they’re doing at the Designers Gallery in Starkville. For me it’s just not Christmas without any holiday plants. C’mon let me show why the poinsettia is one of my favorites. Traditionally, red poinsettias are the first choice of many holiday gardeners. Prestige Red is a solid choice with dark green foliage providing the background to display its brilliant red color. There is also a white Prestige. I like prestige poinsettias because they are compact growing plants with good branching habits. Colors also include pink selections. There are even bi-colors and one of my favorites is Ice Punch with its striking red color and white centers. Now I need to point out that the colorful “flowers” that we love so much are not flowers at all. They are actually modified leaves called bracts. A question I get this time of year is: are poinsettias poisonous? Don’t worry poinsettias are not poisonous, to you, and according to the ASPCA, nor to your pets. However, you should wash your hands after handling your poinsettias as the milky sap may irritate the skin. Whatever color or colors you choose here’s a tip for choosing the perfect poinsettia. Always consider form and proportion of the plant with the container. A good rule is the plant being 2 ½ times taller than the diameter of the container. Be sure to visit your local garden center early for the best Christmas selections. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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