Poinsettias prime picks for holidays

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While everyone else is focused on turkeys and stuffing, Judy Sanderlin is seeing red.

"As soon as Thanksgiving is over, it's usually wide open," said the owner of Sanderlin Green Houses in Appling, which grows its own poinsettias for Christmas.

Some shoppers already have purchased the brilliant red plants from her Scott Ferry Road site, which will be closed Thanksgiving.

"We've had pretty good interest ... with people going to visit relatives for the holidays," she said.

She expects buying to really take off Friday.

Shoppers should find a good crop, Ms. Sanderlin said, because the poinsettias responded well to this fall's weather.

"They're coloring up nicely," she said, adding that she has about 7,000 poinsettias.

The flowery plant is grown from rooted cuttings that come from California the first of August, she said.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 823-3338 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com

POINSETTIA POINTS

PICKING THEM

- Choose a plant with dark green foliage down to the soil line.


- The plant should be two times taller than the diameter of the container.


- Do not buy plants that are displayed in sleeves.


- Do not buy plants that have been crowded close together.


- If the soil is wet and the plant is wilted, this could be an indication of root rot.

CARING FOR THEM

- Place the poinsettia in indirect light. Six hours of light daily is ideal.


- Keep poinsettias away from drafts.


- Ideally poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees and night temperatures of 55 degrees.


- Check the soil daily. Punch holes in foil so water can drain into a saucer. Water when soil is dry.

DID YOU KNOW?

- In 1825, the plant was named after Joel Robert Poinsett, who introduced it to the United States after noticing it in its native southern Mexico habitat while he served as the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.


- Congress has adopted Dec. 12 as National Poinsettia Day.

Sources: Department of Agriculture, www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/poinsettia/selecting.html

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