Now you can ask for your favorite color
By Thea Steinmetz
Published Dec. 1, 2004
What could I
possibly say that is new and fresh about this yearly seasonal plant?
I anticipated skipping writing about the virtues about poinsettias
this year. After 14 years delving into this subject, I could not
think of anything new and exciting to write. That all changed with
a phone call.
Espie from Dean's Greenhouse and Flower Shop called with an enthusiastic
message that I should come and see what is new this year for poinsettias.
Not ever wanting to miss something of interest, her passionate tone
told me I'd better go and investigate. It is all about "Fantasy
Color" for poinsettias, exclusively from Gloeckner. This is the
next wave of introducing a larger color range for holiday decorating.
It was not too
many years ago when someone wanted to market yellow poinsettias,
and they were truly ugly. They were not a hit, and customers did
not rush out to buy them. So, it was natural to think: What next?
I was skeptical
when she produced a box of plastic bottles with paint. Yes, I said
paint. Actually, not so much a paint as it is an ink product. This
new wrinkle for coloring plants is really a never before used method
in American greenhouses.
The Fred C.
Gloeckner Co. has introduced this new generation of spray dyes,
imported from Germany, in time for the holiday sales of poinsettias.
At times, importing goods of any kind can hit a snag. In this case,
the new product was labeled in German and could not leave the port
in New York for distribution.
had to be returned to Germany. The fact that ethanol is part of
the process for coloring made the whole shipment even more suspect.
After the information
on the label was translated and the dye was given proper new labeling,
the product was allowed to enter the country.
was that so much time had elapsed that the product arrived too late
to be applied to immature stock. As the plant grows, the sprayed-on
dye would carry the color and provide an overall look of natural
I watched a
demonstration on plants destined for sale and was amazed with the
result. Debbie showed me some poinsettias that had been sprayed
the day before and they totally lacked the look of having been tampered
with. They give the impression of being grown in the selected colors.
Not all colors
lend themselves to receiving this treatment. White poinsettias are
the best to have "Fantasy Colors" applied to them. Light pink is
also a possibility, especially if a darker tint is applied.
The color choices
include apricot, orange, plum, lilac, fuchsia, dark rose and even
turquoise and blue. Some people, I was told, welcome the blue color
because it will fit better with their décor.
Much to my surprise,
the light orange poinsettia looked quite pleasant when paired with
some gourds in a Thanksgiving Day arrangement.
The plum color
looked right out of the Victorian age. To further enhance the plant,
an application of laser-cut octagonal gold, silver or iridescent
glitter is possible. Sparkling poinsettias. What will they think
It is now possible,
with the aid of this latest product, to truly customize this floral
addition to the holiday décor. There are several colors that
even may be blended to give a mottled effect, much like the "Jingle
Bell" poinsettia. Only here, a modification, according to one's
taste and color preference, is possible.
Will this be
how we select our poinsettias in the future? In the meantime, it
is fun to achieve something different and unusual. This new coloring
system, undoubtedly, will be applied to other flowers in the future.
Most likely it will not find its way into the mass market quickly
because of the cost of labor and material.
There now is
a plethora of poinsettias available at very low prices in discount
stores, but it is not the best place to purchase your plants. Some
of them have extremely fragile stems and might even snap before
you get them home. The succulent stems are not sturdy and need careful
handling. A reputable grower takes care to cultivate the best plant
The Paul Ecke
Ranch in California is the world's largest seller of poinsettias
and has done so for 75 years. They pass on some dos and don'ts on
how to pamper your plants for holiday decorating. Some of their
suggestions are not always easy to follow, especially when it comes
to light exposure.