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Are you ready for a salmon-speckled poinsettia?

When you change a traditional favorite such as poinsettias, you can expect to arouse some controversy. As poinsettias from new to traditional decked our halls last December, staff members and guests on tour offered their opinions: "Gorgeous! Look how the salmon speckles change on each leaf!" "The yellow glows like candlelight, even without the candles." "Looks as if they have terminal chlorosis. Give me red, red, red-nothing else says Christmas." The result of our informal poll: red poinsettias are still the number one choice. But a strong contingent including people who wouldn't buy the reds-found the new poinsettias an invigorating change. Introduced last December, Lemon Drop' and Pink Peppermint' should be more widely available this year at well-stocked nurseries and florists. Expect to pay several dollars more for these; other pastels cost about the same as red poinsettias. For a longer show-whatever color you choose-select plants with green leaves down to the soil and tight green buttons in the center of the colored petal-like bracts. For best color, keep plants at temperatures below 72' during the day and above 60' at night. The room should get enough sunlight for the poinsettias to cast strong shadows. Plants need at least 6 hours of bright indirect light a day to look best. Avoid drafts and temperatures below 50' (including during transportation). Cold air from doors or windows and warm blasts from heaters or fireplaces can cause leaves to drop. Water plants thoroughly when the soil surface feels slightly dry. Remove excess water that drains through the bottom of the pot. Fertilize lightly. After the holidays After poinsettias fade, water sparingly to let them go dormant. Cut stems back to 6 inches from the soil. Gradually increase moisture as shoots grow during spring and summer. Transplant into a larger pot or, in virtually frost-free climates, into the ground; soil should be rich and well drained. Water regularly during hot, dry weather, less when growth is slow and weather is cool.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1990
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