Purchasing The Garden Poinsettia
If you want an alternative to red in your garden, the best time to buy is Thanksgiving weekend and the week that follows. The most non-red sales occur during these calendar dates, so the highest inventory and best selection come at this time.
'White Glitter' and 'Winterstar'
Where to Buy
Garden centers in Connecticut specialize their Poinsettias to some degree in order to compete with the chains, but each one does it to their own style. Here is a shout-out to three of the most interesting I know.
Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam carries the standard sizes, but Nancy likes minatures and has a lot of fun working them into table placeholder settings or fairy garden dishes, or combining them with other houseplants. Darn charming. She designs in the botanical style and she’s open to suggestions if you want something different. Back in the day, her grandmother used to plant her Poinsettias in the garden.
Woodland Gardens in Manchester sells the big ones, up to your waist and higher. Pat has the best volume of the fun stuff in a wide range of sizes, even baskets and tricolor planters. They grow for churches, so place your order here if you want something special for your group or you need to fill up the mini-van.
Ganim’s Garden Center in Fairfield has the best mix in novelties. I bought 'Winter Rose' and 'Tapestry Red' here, two of my favorites. The mix changes every year so if you like something a lot, mention it to Lee.
'Princettia Hot Pink' and 'Winter Rose'
The Princettia Series
The best garden performance belongs to the Princettias. Bracts are star-shaped with a slightly linen-like texture. In the spring, they shuffle their bracts and leaves in an unusual zipper-like fashion. 'Pure White' is the cleanest white in the business, and it’s the series’ bestseller. 'Red' pushes out red tips in its new growth even as late as September. Princettias grow small, never getting above 30 inches, so these are front border Poinsettias.
'Winter Rose' and 'Tapestry Red'
'Winter Rose' has crinkled bracts that look a little like hair scrunchies and a lot like crimson roses. They are almost always sold on long stems so this is typically the tallest Poinsettia in the garden, getting about hip high and slender by midsummer. The scrunchies hold on tight, lasting longer than usual.
'Tapestry Red' is a standard red bloom over foliage lined with deep margins of cream. As the color comes into the bract it turns the margins pink, with the green center the last to turn.
All The Marbles
White bracts with large centers or splotches of pink are known as Marbles, after the most famous variety. The pink can get deep in color on some cultivars, and the bract can reverse to white splashes on a pink bract. It’s a well-established style, so the choices are wide.
Flecks, specks, spots, and drips mark this group. Jingle styles have flecks of white snow on their bracts. Picasso styles spray-paint a fine mist of dots onto their pale bracts. Punk style has sharply edged color breaks.
'Sparkling Punch' with Helichrysum and Hypoestes
Mixing In Some Mixings
Companions are welcomed into these kinds of beds. Poinsettias grow down to the soil, so I've used low color as a liner to surround them: Zinnias, SunPatiens, Petunias and Wax Begonias. Occasionally, I will work something tall like Juncus, Papyrus or Rosemary for some drama. I think a silvery highlights also work, so I like Hypoestes, Dusty Miller and Helichrysum.