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Show #47/7408-Biltmore Conservatory

Poinsettias - History And Different Varieties

Eric comments, there are few plants that say holiday cheer the way that poinsettias do and Todd has some really interesting ones. It's a great collection. Todd has given people the opportunity to see all the different variations that occur. The common poinsettia that we all know and love is a basic red, yet there are many more that are out there. Folks can come to the conservatory and really get a sense of the breadth of many categories of plants.

Let's talk about poinsettias. What is the plant? What do we need to know about it? Todd fills us in. The poinsettia actually comes from Western Mexico, so it actually doesn't like it in here. The conservatory is very humid yet the poinsettia actually comes from a dry region.That means it's a great plant for the home because it likes it dry. It doesn't need a lot of water. It does need some bright light, but other than that, it could be very successful in the average home.

Eric notes we typically interact with the poinsettia in the context of a potted plant that gets about, maybe, two feet tall. But in its native habitat, they can get quite large. Correct, it's actually a very large bush. They're a little bit airy in their growth habit, where they're going to get anywhere from 6, 8 to 10 feet tall. Eric asks - In order to get the color change from a poinsettia, it’s a light-dependent process? That is correct, one could cause the color change by just putting it in a closet for about 12 hours a day. And then once that color change starts to happen, you can just leave it out.

It's an euphorbia. We know many other garden euphorbias, the genus of this plant. Euphorbia pulcherrima, the euphorbia species are known for having white sap and enjoying very dry conditions. A lot of euphorbias are cactus and succulents, a very big family, but a family that is a good one for houseplants because of liking it dry and those kinds of conditions. We don’t want to overwater. They do like it dry and overwatering can lead to their demise.

Eric would like to talk about this beautiful poinsettia tree. He loves this selection with gold speckled bracts. He would like for Todd to tell us how he built this poinsettia tree, and then talk about this cultivar. Todd fills us in - What you see here is a total of about 50 individual poinsettias arranged on basically a cone tree form. If one could see underneath, there is a metal substructure that they use to attach the individual poinsettias. This variety's called glitter, it's a nice way to showcase the poinsettia as well as say, "This is Christmas."

Eric would like to talk about some other fun varieties that Todd's been working with. As one enters the conservatory, you're going to see some different varieties. Most people think of red. But they have some non-traditional varieties, one called golden glow that's yellow. Another has an orange glow that has a very bright fluorescent orange color. They have mouse ears, which is behind them and has a round leaf. Most traditional poinsettias have a holly leaf, but this one's round. They have a rose form, which actually is contorted, it almost looks like carnation or rose-shaped flowers. They have a variegated one called tapestry, its' foliage is variegated. Eric thinks it's so cool to be able to see this incredible spectrum and start thinking about poinsettias in a different way. They're great plants.

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