poinsettias

Let’s put an urban myth to rest: poinsettias are not toxic–not the red or green leaves or milky sap. Although not recommended as a snack for children or pets, chowing down on a plant only results in slight nausea, no worse than devouring a box of chocolates.

Hints to keeping plants fresh all season; poinsettias are not well-suited to front porch displays—too cold. Display in indirect, bright light. Botrytis, the ever-lurking disease beast, takes off when bracts get dripped on or dead leaves litter the soil surface. Avoid overwatering. Error on the dry side. Remove plants from décor pot before watering and drain saucers prior to placing back on display. Roots need as much air as water to thrive. Avoid close proximity to heater vents. Toss out plants by February to make room for spring blooms.


The holiday season is upon us… Do you know all there is to know about Poinsettias? Here is some general information, store handling, and care tips for consumers.

Are they poisonous? Poinsettias are NOT poisonous and there is plenty of research to prove it. Of course, the plant is NOT for consumption.

What are their light needs?  Get plants out of boxes ASAP. Plants suffer if held too long in boxes. Leaves will yellow. It is best to display poinsettias in bright, indirect light (not direct sunlight) and away from heater drafts.

Are they cold sensitive?  YES, wrap the plants well and remind customers that chill damage happens at temps colder than 38F for more than 30 minutes. Poinsettias are happiest between 60F—75F.

Cold Sensitivity
plantclinic.tamu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are they ethylene sensitive? Plants are moderately sensitive. Internal ethylene production is triggered when bracts are bent upward as when plants are lifted up and out of sleeves. The upward motion of bracts triggers an ethylene response.

Prevention: Ask growers to ship with Chrysal Ethylene Buster sachets in boxes.

Avoid ethylene exposure from:

-exhaust from combustion engines, space heaters

smoke from cigarettes, BBQs, fireplaces, air pollution

Douglas Fir and Redwood cut foliage

storing in closed area with boxes of deco moss

What is epinasty? A horticultural term describing plants that appear wilted, but are not revived when watered. To prevent epinasty, un-sleeve plants by tearing open the sleeve from the bottom rather than pushing the pot up from the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is leaf drop?  Irregular irrigation, low-light intensity, warm temperature, and low relative humidity make leaf drop a common disorder.

How do I water? Never let the plant sit in water—roots drown. Water every 7-8 days depending on temperature of the house. Allow water flow through soil to flush salts completely out of soil profile and ample time for pot to drip dry (2-3 hours) before placing in display location.

Broken bracts as cut flowers? Yes as long as stems are fully hydrated. Hydrate broken bracts in Chrysal Professional #1 for 2-4 hours at ambient. Make sure solution level is deep enough to act as a liquid band-aide to seal and clean latex flow from wounded areas on stems. When bracts are hydrated, design w/o giving a fresh cut. Display designs outside of cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Poinsettias are the traditional Christmas flower in the United States and in most of the world.  Red Poinsettias naturally share the colors of Christmas and are extremely inviting, allowing them to share the holiday spirit.  Red Poinsettias go well with all holiday decorations in your home or office making it the go-to flower for the holidays.  White and pink are some of the other common Poinsettia colors, but not as popular as the red.  Here are some general Poinsettia care and handling tips you should know.

Important hydration tips you need to know

  • Poinsettias are tricky when it comes to watering and staying hydrated.
  • It is important to water them constantly if the surface soil is dry.  Test the soil hydration daily by sticking your finger into the potted soil, about one inch deep.
  • Be sure to punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer. AVOID plants sitting in water (roots will die).
  • Make sure to frequently discard excess water in the saucer.
  • Water from the bottom to avoid getting leaves wet. Wilted plants will tend to drop bracts sooner.
  • Chrysal Aqua Pad is an innovative product made for potted plants to help keep them hydrated and to reduce waste.  Will work great with Poinsettias and their finicky hydration needs.

Keep your temperatures just right!

  • To prolong color, keep in temperatures 60-70F during the day and around 55F at night.
  • Temperatures above or below this might result in shortened bloom life or rotting roots.
  • Place plant away from hot or cold drafts.  If you live in a cold weather location, move Poinsettias away from the windows and doors at night.
  • Display away from windy front door areas.
  • Display in bright, indirect light.

If a Bract breaks

  • Give a fresh cut.  Hydrate in Chrysal Gerb Pill solutions.  Use in arrangements outside of cooler.

Fun Fact

  • National Poinsettia Day is December 12th.  This is because it marks the death of the man the plant is named after.  Poinsettia was given its name after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820’s. He was also an amateur botanist and enjoyed traveling the country in search o interesting plants.  In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers and took cuttings back to his greenhouse in South Carolina.

Flower fanatics, unite! Regardless whether you are a retail designer, a wholesale manager, buying flowers for bouquet production, or importing blooms from Latin America, every one agrees that quality matters. Why then is there so much confusion about the handling techniques that maximize quality at every step of the chain?

Let’s take a look at several common flower handling questions and try to slay a few sacred cows in the process. A good business mantra is “under-promise and over-deliver!” Americans demand value and come back for repeat purchases when they feel your product was worth the price. When it comes to appraising the value of flowers, vase-life performance is the bottom line. That’s why proper handling practices make good business sense. Handling flowers correctly makes all the difference in vase performance, not to mention reducing shrink.

Let’s start with sacred cows pertaining to Rose handling….

Will placing rose stems in hot water help hydrate them? NO! Hot water causes more harm than good. It is too aggressive for flower stems, including dahlias, snow on the mountain, poinsettia bracts and poppies. Super hot water damages stem cells, causing stem discoloration and subsequent cell collapse. Proper use of a hydration solution like Professional #1 or Professional Gerbera pills, slow release chlorine, will give far better results. Notice the emphasis on “proper”? That means the solution is mixed according to instructions and used for the appropriate time listed on label.

I like to clean my roses before arranging. Does it matter if I strip off most the foliage? Specialized cells, called stomata, are located on the underside of the leaves. These cells pump solution up the stem into blooms. Roses need ample foliage to hydrate. To avoid droopy heads, leave as much foliage in tact as possible. Strip only those leaves that fall below the water level when hydrating blooms to keep the solution clean.

Should you remove or dull rose thorns? Removing thorns may make handling easier, but those wounds serve as perfect entryways for bacteria and air bubbles to enter stems. Use a soft stripper from Chrysal to remove thorns. Avoid metal rose strippers for two reasons; it is super easy to nick or damage the stem bark. Secondly, it’s easy to go overboard and strip off too much foliage using those vice-like strippers.

Should you remove guard petals from roses? Refrain from grooming roses unless the guard petals are blemished or have Botrytis spots. Every petal removed loosens the overall bud composition thereby accelerating the opening rate. Remember, any wound (including the area where guard petals attach to the calyx) on a flower or flower stem is a conduit for bacterial invasion. Wounding blooms also triggers the internal production of ethylene. Ethylene shortens the vase life of all flowers!

How about myths surrounding tulips and other bulb flowers?

I pierce my tulip stems then add pennies to the water. Keep my glads in the dark, pour gin in the iris buckets and strip the foliage off my lilies to maximize vase performance on bulb flowers, right?
The chemistry of bulbous flowers (including tulips) goes crazy when the flowers are cut from their bulb, corm, rhizome or tuber. You recognize the symptoms, but may not know the cause. Poor vase life; Iris start to open, but instead turn brown and shrivel. Tulips goose-neck and drop petals, anemones, ranuculas and nerines lose color vibrancy. Alstroemeria and lilies suffer premature leaf yellowing. Freesia and glads stop opening after 1 or 2 florets.

All these conditions are symptoms of the hormonal imbalance that occurs when bulbous flowers are harvested. These types of flowers don’t need much sugar in flower foods, but vase life is greatly improved when hormone chemistry is rebalanced. Chrysal bulb t-bags are the product to use for bulb flowers.

Should I remove the anthers of lilies to eliminate the possibility of pollen stains? Yes, plucking off the anthers helps avoid pollen stains, but when pollen does stain clothing or tablecloths, use tape (masking or scotch both work) to lift the pollen off material. Avoid touching or brushing pollen with hands—that sets pollen grains into the texture of the material. Some feel that removing anthers slows down maturation, but it has never been scientifically proven.


What’s up with delphinium?
I love the beautiful blue tones, but they fall apart after 2-3 days. If your flowers suffer signs of premature ageing, ethylene may be the culprit. The entire delphinium family is highly sensitive to ethylene gas and needs to be treated at farm level with STS to prevent damning effects of ethylene exposure. Another alternative is treating ethylene sensitive flowers with Ethylene Buster (1-MCP gas) during transit.

Proper flower handling starts with variety selection and continues along every link of the chain. Every time consumers are polled on how long they think flowers last, they answer 2-3 days. When you exceed that vase-life expectation, you are planting seeds for repeat business!


Shipping

Protection against ethylene

  • Protect poinsettias against ethylene—they are sensitive!
  • Ethylene Buster (EB) is eco friendly, easy and flexible.
  • Available in two delivery methods: truck kits for large areas and trailers and sachets for boxes.
  • Size of area determines how many pills or sachets are needed for protection
  • L x W x H = volume of area to treat
  • Truck kits:  Determine amount of pills for space treated. 1 pill treats 375ft3.
  • Drop EB pills into activator pot. Replace lid.  Water activates the release of the gas
  • Moisten sachets in water before dropping into shipping boxes.
  • Close holes to trap gas inside
  • Allow 4 hours minimum for treatment.

Avoid ethylene exposure.

–  Never expose or store poinsettias in same area as Douglas fir or Redwood. Both types of foliage produce LOTS of ethylene.

–  Make sure no cigarette smoke drifts in from the back dock smokers’ corner

 

Temperature:

  • These plants like bright (indirect) light.
  • These Mexican natives love indoor temperatures between 65F—75F

 

Out of Sleeves, fast!

  • Remove sleeves as soon as the shipment arrives. Handle with care as bracts snap easily.
  • Delivering in cold climates?  Paper sleeves will not protect against chill damage.
  • Get out the frost pack and blanket poinsettias for successful deliveries.

Watering:

  • Overwatering and/or letting plants sit in water kills most plants—poinsettias included
  • Every 8-10 days is sufficient.
  • Allow water to drain completely through the pot to avoid accumulation of salts in the soil profile. Salt accumulation causes burning on leaf margins.
  • Take care to keep the leaves and red bracts dry.
  • Remove pot cover, slowly soak soil surface (tepid water) until water flows out the bottom.  Then repeat the same action so air pockets in soil are completely filled with water.
  • Never leave the pot submerged. Roots drown without oxygen.
  • Don’t worry about fertilizing; growers prep plants with enough food to sustain them through their month-long beauty pageant