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Gardening & More: Explore some nontraditional varieties of poinsettias

A HOLIDAY TRADITION — The “white glitter” is a red poinsettia flecked with white. There are many varieties of this plant, including white varieties and pink varieties.
SPRINGVILLE — If you are a traditionalist, you may love the solid, red and green poinsettias that we are all so familiar with. But there are many other varieties out there, that you might also enjoy.

According to Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville, his business grows the poinsettias that are sold on site.

One of my favorites of these plants is called “white glitter,” a poinsettia which is red, with white flecks. Those flecks remind me of confetti and make the plant seem so festive.

While you can find poinsettias that have had glitter glued on or poinsettias that have been painted, all of the poinsettias that we’re talking about in this article are grown with whatever colors they exhibit naturally. “They’re great the way they are,” Yadon said.

The coloration on the white glitter poinsettias will be different on each individual plant. On some plants, half of the “flowers” are red, with speckles, while the other half of the flowers are white.

What we think of as flowers are not real petals. They are actually bracts, a kind of leaf. The flower is not technically the colorful part; it is just the bit at the center of the colorful part.

Another attractive feature of this plant is its deeply-cut bracts and leaves, which are shaped like holly leaves.

Yadon said that one of his personal favorites is the white “polar bear poinsettia,” which has beautiful, green veining.

This plant also helps conservation efforts. When Mischler’s purchased the cuttings to grow the polar bear poinsettias, a donation was made to Polar Bears International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving polar bears by maintaining their icy sea home.

When you purchase one of these plants, you may also obtain a gift tag explaining this “conservation in full bloom” idea.

One new variety of poinsettia is Picasso, which Yadon described as “naturally airbrushed,” with shades of cream on red. The “ice crystal” plant is cream with red edges.

If you are looking for something a little wilder, check out a pink poinsettia. The “maren” is soft and peachy pink. “Ice punch” is hot pink, with a cream center.

For something even less common, how about a “snowball” hydrangea?

Yadon said that this year marks the first time he is selling this plant at Christmastime. These are usually sold at Easter, but they can make a nice alternative to poinsettias.

A snowball hydrangea is a nice, wintertime gift for anyone, including those who do not celebrate Christmas.

It can also be wrapped in blue for Hanukkah.

This hydrangea will last for probably several months in the house. Keep it in sunlight and water it often.

You may attempt to move the plant outside, to your garden in the spring, but it is not hardy for our area and probably will not last through the next winter.

If you are looking for something a little bit different this holiday season, try one of the newer varieties of poinsettias or a snowball hydrangea.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email her at Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.
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