• August 20, 2014

Poinsettia pals help create stunning holiday style

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Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013 4:30 am

Just down the sidewalk from my office, in our Garden for All Abilities, Picasso poinsettias and dusty millers are creating a Kodak moment for visitors. The Poinsettia Pal concept is now about 7 years old, and it appears we are only limited by our imagination. The impetus for this companion craze for poinsettias was the debut of the Diamond Frost euphorbia. It is still both unbeatable and underused, creating the illusion that, when paired, the cheerful red bracts are actually resting on a bed of ice crystals.

The winter has been mild in Savannah, Ga., and our combinations being grown outside are most striking. Picasso is a red poinsettia than indeed looks as though the artist himself had carefully brushed creamy white on the bracts. The silver-leafed dusty miller is really a foil helping the poinsettia to show out even more.

Though we are growing it outside, it could be easily duplicated in a large bowl or container indoors for the holidays. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see another showy planting that featured much the same concept, but used a selection of poinsettias with narrow pink bracts and Silver Spike helichrysum.

In another section of our Garden for All Abilities we are using Carolina Sapphire, a blue Arizona cypress selection, in partnerships with red poinsettias in

one bed and with white selections nearby. You can easily duplicate the look indoors, with a small Arizona cypress, a-rosemary topiary, or even a small pinion pine.

By all means don’t forget the Norfolk Island pine as a companion.

An obvious consideration is to use other Christmas plants as partners. White kalanchoes, with their distinctive, succulent-looking leaves, can provide all the contrast you need. But one of the showiest partnerships comes from combining the poinsettia with cyclamen. Cyclamen comes in several shades of red, pink, white, and even purple all with extraordinarily beautiful variegated foliage.

This is an example of thinking outside the box or stretching the horticultural comfort zone. Cyclamen like it cool, and poinsettias like it warm. Go ahead and combine them, remembering that you aren’t going to be a greenhouse grower but a floral interior designer.

You only want to create a show until a few days or so after Christmas. This partnership will work for the period of time you need.

No matter whether you choose a traditional usage for your poinsettia or create a dazzling combination, water will play an important role. If you are going with the traditional enjoyment of your poinsettias this probably means you are keeping the foil wrapper. These wrappers can hold water, so make sure your poinsettia does not sit actually submerged.

Whether you are using a wrapper, or creating a poinsettia partnership that is the envy of neighbors, don’t forget to water. With all of the shopping, Christmas parties and business of the season, you will want to keep the plant moist to the touch. Touching is the key. When the surface is dry to the touch, water until it runs freely out the drainage hole in the container.

Poinsettias are extraordinary beautiful Christmas plants, so use them boldly in all areas of your home from the centerpiece on the table, to the family room and guest bedrooms. Make this the year you add some poinsettia partners to make your holiday arrangements even more stunning.

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