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Linda Naeve, Reiman Gardens, (515) 294-8946,
Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033,

Reiman's Pick for the week of Dec. 8, 2003

Winter Rose Poinsettias Give a New Twist to Tradition

Linda Naeve
Extension Coordinator
Reiman Garden

There are some things that people either really like or really don't like. Certain foods, such as coconut and blue cheese, are two examples. When asked, most people will respond strongly in one way or the other, very few will say that they just "sort-of like it."

This week's Reiman's Pick, Winter Rose(tm) poinsettia, is a good example of that in the plant world. It is a completely new and different type of poinsettia that receives either praise or criticism. Many people prefer the traditional red poinsettia and do not like the new colors and forms that plant breeders have introduced over the past 30 years. It is no surprise that nearly 75 percent of the poinsettias sold are red.

The Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, California, developed Winter Rose(tm) poinsettias. In fact, over 75% of the poinsettias grown in North America every year, and 50 percent grown in the world, gets their start in California.

The leaves and bracts on Winter Rose(tm) are smaller than most poinsettias and appear as if the center vein has been pulled like a seam, resulting in a puckered, down-curving appearance. This increases the visibility of the yellow flowers in the center and creates a small symmetrical "bloom" that resembles a large, open rose.

Although you may appreciate the beauty and tradition of the popular red poinsettias, most really like the new dimension Winter Rose(tm) poinsettias add to holiday décor. The first Winter Rose(tm) introduction was 'Dark Red'. There are now three additional cultivars in this poinsettia series. They are "Deep Pink," "Pink" and "Marble."

Most seasonal plants, such as poinsettias and Easter lilies, are considered "extended flower arrangements" and are discarded once the flowers fade. Winter Rose(tm) poinsettias last much longer than other poinsettia cultivars because their colorful bracts look good six months or more after the holidays. When most poinsettias shout "holiday left-over" by February, the unusual growth and flower form of Winter Rose(tm) provides a lot of color without the obvious holiday look.

It is quite easy to care for a poinsettia plant. Place it in a bright location and water when the soil is dry on the surface. Due to its reduced leaf area, Winter Rose(tm) does not require watering as often as other types of poinsettias.

To determine if your plant needs water, lift the container - if it is quite light, the soil mix is dry and needs water. If the pot is covered with a decorative plastic pot cover, slip it off after watering and discard the excess water. Root rot can occur if the pot sits in water for an extended period.

Always cover poinsettias and other holiday plants with a protective sleeve when carrying them outside from the store to your warm car. Even short exposure to freezing temperatures will cause the leaves to drop.

You can see red and white Winter Rose(tm) poinsettias among the 1,400 poinsettias in the beautiful conservatory display at Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens. A large, brilliant red tree, consisting of 360 poinsettia plants, takes center stage.


NOTE TO EDITORS: The trademark symbol (tm) may appear different due to e-mail formatting.

Editors: Two color photos, suitable for publication, are available at right. Click on each thumbnail photo to go to the fullsized photo. The top picture's fullsize photo is 240K and the bottom picture's fullsize photo is 252K.

Caption: Winter Rose poinsettia 1

Caption: Winter Rose poinsettia 2

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