Wacky Poinsettia Suits My Gardening Style

The beautiful colors of this novelty poinsettia are due to unstable genetics.

Sonora Glitter Poinsettia blogPoinsettias are the traditional potted plant for the holiday season and most people prefer those with brilliant red bracts.  Others opt for snowy white or shades of pink to match their decor.

Then there are other plant lovers (like me) who can’t keep their hands off the most unusual plant on the pallet.

That was the case the other day when I was at Home Depot looking over the fresh shipment of poinsettias and caught a glimpse of the one that stood out from all the rest of the picture-perfect specimens. It was the only one like it in the entire display.

The Sonora Glitter has crinkly, red bracts speckled with white and dark green foliage, but some of its bracts are pink and white. I just had to learn more about this plant and tracked down the grower, TGE, from the plant tag.

TGE stands for Tagawa Greenhouse Enterprises, LLC, with greenhouse locations in Brighton, Golden and New Mexico. John Williams, co-owner and vice president of production and operations, told me TGE has a total of 2.3 million square feet of greenhouse space to grow holiday crops, like poinsettias and Easter lilies, annuals, perennials and southern white pines.

TGE starts propagating poinsettia plants in May so they’ll be ready to ship by Thanksgiving. This year they propagated 300,000 plants.

When I asked about my Sonora Glitter, John told me it wasn’t supposed to have any pink bracts. “But sometimes these novelties do wacky things in the greenhouse,” he said.

Novelty poinsettias were originally rejected by plant propagators who were trying to come up with a better looking plant. That’s before they discovered that some people actually like a plant that stands out from the crowd.  John told me Sonora Glitter was just one of several interesting poinsettias the company trialed this year.

Greenhouses work to balance the percent of red poinsettias they grow with the number of novelty plants, because not everyone likes the look of an unusual plant.  As the days draw closer to Christmas, red poinsettias are easier to sell.

No matter what kind of poinsettia suits your taste, choose a healthy-looking plant with dense foliage, strong stiff stems and no signs of wilting.

To keep your plant beautiful throughout the season, keep it warm, out of drafts and away from direct sunlight.

Make sure the soil is kept moderately moist, but don’t let it sit in standing water. If the pot came wrapped in a decorative foil cover, remove the wrapper before watering.

New poinsettias are always in the works and CSU held poinsettia trials earlier this month. My colleague, Carol O’Meara, attended the trials and featured some of the plants on her Gardening After Five Dec. 1 blog post. There’s a speckly one there I’m sure is meant just for me.


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Great post, Jodi – funny how we love the novelty plants but the growers always pick out the traditional ones at the trials. My fav is the plum colored one they had up at CSU. Spectacular!

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