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‘Tis the season for poinsettias, available in many colors
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Park Greenhouse regular customer Doug Van Dyken, an avid gardener, holds a sample of the Mumsettia, an arrangement featuring white chrysanthemums and poinsettia. It is the season’s big seller at the nursery. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/Bulletin Correspondent

Have a Picasso for Christmas. 

Pair it with a Princettia, or even a Mumsettia and you have a special conversation piece guaranteed to break the ice at your holiday party.

We’re talking about poinsettias, the flower that is synonymous with the yuletide season.

The staple color, of course, is red. In fact, some garden centers — at Schemper’s Hardware in Ripon, for instance — only carry this variety. 

“We’re just getting the reds in,” said garden manager Cat Valdez-Paul.

The unusual and novel poinsettia selections are offered at Park Greenhouse on West Ripon Road. Besides the Picasso, Princettia Hot Pink, and Mumsettia are the Winter Rose, Marble and Ice Crystals. Then there are the purple, orange, and blue to add to these floral conversation pieces. 

Full disclosure: these last three colors are sprayed or dyed. The rest are naturally grown at the nursery. The Mumsettia is actually an arrangement that combines white chrysanthemums and red poinsettias planted in one container. It was a surprise big hit to customers during the nursery’s annual holiday open house last week, said a smiling Valerie Irlmeier.

“Those were flying out the door,” she said of the red and white potted attraction favored by gardeners like Doug Van Dyken who is one of the nursery’s regular customers.

Two other poinsettia colors to choose from at Park Greenhouse are white and maroon. But the dominant color is still the traditional red.

“We only have a very limited number of specialty colors and painted varieties,” Irlmeier explained.

Park Greenhouse sales representative Chris Cover said all the poinsettias sold at the retail store are “grown on site.” Park Greenhouse is also a wholesale nursery supplying a number of garden centers throughout the Golden State.

The growing process for the poinsettias usually starts around July, beginning with “a tiny little plant with a root” called “plug” which is about one or two inches tall, Cover said.

How long you can keep a potted poinsettia at home depends on a variety of factors, Cover said. Otherwise, watering need only take an average of twice a week.

Make sure you don’t place the plant near a heater vent, he cautioned. “That will dry it up quickly,” he said.