The bright red and green of poinsettias fit them perfectly into
decorating. But today, consumers have many more color choices to
from, thanks to the efforts of poinsettia breeders.
"Poinsettias can now be found in strong white, creamy white,
solid pink, bright orange-red, deep purple-red and traditional
Paul Thomas, an extension horticulturist with the University
of Georgia College of
and Environmental Sciences. "There are also speckled and
Thomas said the increase in poinsettia color choices are a
breeders trying to meet consumer demands. "We find more and more
buying poinsettias for decorating," he said. "If you are going
to use poinsettias
for decorating, it's important to buy a color that matches your
Of the white varieties, Gutbier V-17 Angelika White is a
because it has large bracts and is a big, vigorous plant, Thomas
GETTING READY FOR
Christy Markham, in photo, prepares pink poinsettias for the
Though plant breeders have produced white, pink, orange-red,
and even yellow poinsettias, Paul Thomas, a UGA horticulturist
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said
1 selling color is still red. "You can find poinsettias to match
decor, but they may be more difficult to find," Thomas said.
courtesy the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental
"The pink varieties seem to be a toss-up to consumers," he
"People either love them or they hate them." He
recommends "Pelfi Flirt"
to people who fancy pink.
"Jingle Bells, the speckled poinsettias, come from two
types which create natural
variegations," Thomas said. "It's just like a speckled puppy
The newest colors in the poinsettia family are the marbled
"Instead of the sharp blotches found on the speckled
poinsettias, the marbled
varieties are more smoothly blended and look as if an artist
bracts," Thomas said. "It's really a unique color you have to
see to believe
Poinsettias' beautiful "flowers" aren't actually flowers at
plant's true flower is the small, yellow flower in the center of
or groups of leaves. The bracts provide the plants' spectacular
Thomas said marbled poinsettias earn very high visual ratings
"They aren't grown in large numbers because they are so new," he
Poinsettia breeders have learned from experience to breed
will buy rather than experiment with too many new and different
"About four years ago, a yellow variety called Lemon Drop was
said Thomas. "Consumers said, 'Sorry, that's not a Christmas
we don't want it.' Breeders assumed that the public would like
because it was a new color."
Despite the release of these new colors, traditional red
still rank highest in sales.
"A typical greenhouse propagates hundreds of reds and only
the other varieties,"
Thomas said. "The marketing surveys show that people still
and 90 percent of poinsettias sold are red varieties."
Thomas said the new variegated and marbled varieties may be
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. "There are about 800
and 500 florists in the state. So you're probably only a few
one right now. If they don't have what you're looking for,
they can order it."
Quality is another reason to shop for poinsettias at florists
Thomas said, rather than department stores.
"At the chain stores," he said, "the plants may cost less.
But the plant
will be a lower-quality plant. And chances are you'll only find
red or solid white varieties."