Not Your Grandma's Poinsettia

By Shila Patel

Everyone knows that poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are the number one potted holiday plant. Varieties come in white, pink, marbled, and the ever popular red. However, if the sight of another traditional cherry red poinsettia at holiday time has become all too familiar, take heart. Poinsettias have undergone a dramatic makeover.

This holiday season, Paul Ecke Ranch, which introduced the first potted poinsettias more than 75 year ago, has bred a distinctive new plant, 'Winter Rose', the first curly-bracted poinsettia.

With its inward-curving deep ruby red bracts (the colorful petallike leaves that resemble flowers) and dark emerald leaves, 'Winter Rose' is a standout. Its curly bracts seem to fuse into a loose pompon of color that stands above the smallish green leaves. Because of its more compact, upright habit, 'Winter Rose' is more versatile in the home than older kinds. With proper care, it will retain its color for three to four weeks. Care for it as you would other poinsettias, except that it requires less water because of its diminutive size.

Look for potted plants, which range from 6 to 17 inches tall, at garden centers and florists soon after Thanksgiving. For detailed care information, visit the Paul Ecke Ranch Web site at

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