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Moesel: Poinsettias are more colorful than ever

[Metro Creative Connection]
[Metro Creative Connection]

Christmas grows ever closer and you still have time to gift or decorate with poinsettias, evergreen wreaths, boughs, swags, rope and Christmas trees.

The poinsettia has evolved dramatically to produce much more impressive and colorful bracts from the original plant U.S. Ambassador Joel Poinsett discovered growing wild on the hillsides in Mexico as our first ambassador to our southern neighbor.

Not only are the bracts larger and more impressive, but they are now available in many colors besides the original red. Choose many tones of red from University of Oklahoma crimson to Oklahoma State University orange, as well as pink, white and marbled or multicolored bracts. The modern poinsettia also will stay colorful for much longer than the older heirloom varieties.

With a little basic attention to water, light and temperature, it is not unusual for the bracts, that most folks think are the flowers, to stay pretty and colorful well into March or April.

When I was in my grade school years, we would try to have poinsettias “reddened up” by mid December, and they would stay beautiful for four to six weeks. Now we have them reddened up by Thanksgiving, and they often stay pretty for three to five months. If you are doing a living Christmas tree, now is the time to bring the tree inside and decorate so you can take it down around the new year and get it back outside with limited needle drop.

Gardening gifts

Many folks have a gardener on their gift list, whether it is a spouse, parent, sibling, business associate or good friend. There is an almost unlimited range of gifts you can consider for gardeners. The more you know about their gardening interests the better you can do on personalizing their gift.

Are they interested in vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, bonsai, terrariums, shade trees or roses? If you know their particular interest, you can buy plants, supplies, books or society memberships for that interest area. If you don’t know their specific interests, consider a gift certificate for their favorite garden center or nursery or for a good local garden center in their area. A gift card allows them to select the very plants they want to add to their garden.

Garden gloves, boots or gardening attire are needed by most all gardeners. Garden tools and equipment are always needed. A very special gift would be a hobby greenhouse, cold-frame or shade house. Decorative containers are always popular and give gardeners another opportunity to buy plants! Gardening books and magazines are appreciated by most gardeners as we are always on the quest to learn more and discover new plants.

Consider getting your garden friends a membership in the Oklahoma Horticulture Society at www.ok-hort.org or membership in Myriad Botanical Gardens, Tulsa Botanic Gardens or the Oklahoma City Zoo and its botanical gardens so they can visit all year, get magazines and newsletters and be invited to special classes and speakers.

For really special gardeners, consider garden tourism in our state to view the Muskogee Azalea Festival, botanical gardens at Oklahoma City, Tulsa or Stillwater or around the world to see spring bulbs flowering in Holland, as well as great gardens all over our country and the world. For the gardener who has everything, consider a scholarship in their name at the horticulture programs at OSU Stillwater or OSU-OKC or support horticulture youth programs at 4-H or FFA in their name.

We wish you and your family a very happy and merry Christmas and hope the poinsettias and greens help add a lot of color and excitement to your holiday festivities.

Rodd Moesel serves as president of Oklahoma Farm Bureau and was inducted into the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame. Email garden and landscape questions to rmoesel@americanplant.com.

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