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National Poinsettia Day 2018
Red Gltter
Winter Rose
Ice Punch
Traditional Red

Celebrate National Poinsettia Day

It's December 12th, and that means it's National Poinsettia Day! The poinsettia is one of the few flowers of North America that can claim its own day thanks to Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. It is Roberts who is credited for bringing this beautiful traditional Christmas gift to our land. And it all happened like this: Ambassador Poinsett was on a diplomatic mission to Taxco, Mexico. The year was 1828. Admiring the tropical environment, he became entranced with the plant’s beauty, its medicinal uses, and its artistic applications by the natives of the region. So enamored was the ambassador that it was one of the first things he brought back to the United States.

The plant proved to have a major impact on not only Christmas in the USA, but agriculture, for many years to come. Because of its important role in the celebration of Christmas and its beautification to America, Congress set December 12th each year as National Poinsettia Day. The good Ambassador would be amazed at what started as simple cuttings from Mexico have become. According to USDA, poinsettias are the number one potted plant grown in the nation! Here’s a few of our favorite poinsettia varieties:

Winter Rose - similar to the traditional red poinsettia but with a twist. This unique variety has puckered, down curling leaves and bracts that resembles a large, open rose. Perfect for the traditionalist who likes an edgy touch.

Picasso - speckled with tiny dots of red and white resembling tiny brushstrokes on the leaves. If you’re looking for something outside the box this season, then Picasso is the one for you.

Ice Punch - a nice mixture of pink-red with a pale pink in the center. This variety features brats that are pointier than most. Ice Punch works well as a statement piece on its own or several grouped together.

Red Glitter - features red bracts covered in white speckles and splashes. For those who are looking for something fun and but classic at the same time.

Traditional Red - you can't go wrong with this showy holiday favorite. Nothing conveys the joy and spirit of the season like this Christmas classic.

Poinsettias are easy to keep beautiful and blooming throughout the holidays and beyond as long as you follow a few simple tips:

  • Avoid exposing the poinsettia to freezing conditions. Do not leave it in the car while you finish shopping. Take it home and place it inside the house as soon as possible after purchasing it.
  • Place your poinsettia in a spot with bright natural light, but do not expose it to direct sunlight.
  • Do not place your poinsettia in an area where it will be exposed to drafts, heat from appliances, radiators, or ventilation ducts.
  • The color of your poinsettia will last longer with temperatures around 65 degrees F during the day and 60-65 degrees F at night.
  • The soil should be kept moderately moist; check every few days and water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Before watering, remove the pot covers or foil wrapping; water to saturate the soil, and then allow the pot to drain. Do not let the plant sit in standing water.
Pink Frost
Shooting Star
Monte Christo
Cinnamon Snow

Hellebores, the Cold-Weather Bloomer

There are few shade perennials that can compete with the seasonal interest of hellebores. Also called the Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, bloom-time often coincides with the Christmas holidays. This hardy perennial offers beautiful blooms all through the dreary days of winter and into early spring. Hellebores features blooms with five petaled, cup-shaped flowers with dark green foliage that makes for a beautiful back-drop. Available in a variety of colors from white to pastel-yellow to pink and purple, this intriguing perennial is without a doubt the star of the winter landscape. And, throughout the summer the deep green foliage creates visual depth and interest in the landscape, too. This low maintenance plant is drought tolerant but will also thrive in moist, well-drained soil. And did we mention that hellebores are deer resistant. Not only will they grace your table with beautiful cut flowers, they'll provide color in your landscape at a time when there virtually is none. Here are some of our favorite stunning selections:

Pink Frost (Heritage Gold Collection) - a blend of white, pink, and deep rose on upward-facing petals - unusual for a hellebore. Burgundy stems support leathery leaves with a silver frosting. This upright grower blooms winter to early spring and is happy in beds, borders, or containers. Plant in part to full-shade.

Frostkiss Pippa's Purple - oodles of outward-facing, purplish-pink flowers overtop foliage that is mottled and veined with pink and silver, mellowing to mint on dark green. Pippa has a winter bloom-time and is ideal nuzzled into beds or containers. Plant in part to full-shade.

Shooting Star (Heritage Gold Collection) – dusty-rose buds open to white flowers that fade to sage-green with dark-red stems. Blooms winter to early spring and is right at home in beds, borders, and pots. Plant in part to full-shade.

Monte Christo (Heritage Gold Collection) – creamy blooms tinged with a peachy-rose-blush. Foliage is blue-gray with red stems. Blooms winter to early spring and is the perfect perennial for beds, borders, and containers. Plant in part to full-shade.

Marlon (Heritage Gold Collection) – large, cream flowers that mature to green on cinnamon-colored stems surrounded by deep-green foliage. This compact grower blooms late winter to spring and does best in beds, borders, and containers. Plant in part to full-shade.

Mahogany Snow (Heritage Gold Collection) – large, creamy with light-pink petals that age to a soft mahogany-pink. Mahogany Snow blooms winter to early spring and fits perfectly into shady beds, borders, or containers. Plant in part to full-shade.

Gold Collection Cinnamon Snow (Heritage Gold Collection) – large, creamy-white flowers blended with rose and cinnamon hues and cinnamon-red on the flipside. Foliage is deep green. This winter-time bloomer is well-suited for shaded beds and borders. Plant in part to full-shade.

Jacob (Heritage Gold Collection) - smooth, dark green foliage with crisp, 2 to 3-inch white flowers that mature to a pink and rose color in cool temperatures and turn light green in warmer climates. Stems are a rich burgundy highlight by dark green foliage. Blooms in winter and performs well in beds, borders, and pots. Plant in part to full-shade.

Jesko (Heritage Gold Collection) - large, pure-white blooms maturing to pale yellow-green with deep green, leathery textured leaves. Jesko is a compact grower and blooms in early winter. Perfect planted in pots, or in a shady spot in the landscape. Plant in part to full-shade.

Photos courtesy of Skagit Gardens