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Here, Stars for Europe, the leading poinsettia experts, looks at how the latest poinsettia colourways can transform your festive displays into a winter wonderland
Christmas is a celebration that’s steeped in tradition: the excitement (and hopefully not disappointment) while opening presents on the big day, secretly Googling ‘how to cook a turkey’ just hours before the family feast, trying to keep the kids quiet during the Queen’s speech and ensuring that arguments don’t break out between relatives playing board games after a tipple or two.
There is one tradition however – the spectacular sight of a red-topped poinsettia at the centre of your home’s sparkling decorations – that’s being brought right up-to-date. Red may be the quintessential colour that’s associated with Christmas decorations, Rudolph’s nose and Santa, but if you fancy being a rebel without a Claus, why not dare to be different? Nowadays, poinsettias come in such a vast array of gorgeous hues that there’s a colour to match every taste imaginable, whether you live in a Victorian terrace, contemporary city apartment or a traditional country cottage.
Create an ice-white winter wonderland
In the bleak mid-winter, when a carpet of snow blankets the ground outside, nature’s finest ice-white flora can also create a magical atmosphere inside our homes. Poinsettias topped with snowy white bracts will dazzle during the darkest days of the year, injecting a fresh, cutting-edge contemporary look that beautifully contrasts traditional greens of berry-laden holly and the slender green needles of a pine Christmas tree. White poinsettias’ neutral tones make perfect partners for bowls of scented paperwhite narcissi or highly perfumed ice-white hyacinths – or why not display solo as an inspirational, stand-out feature that brings the glory of winter white into the warmth of our homes?
Harness the beauty of pastel tones
Twinkling, sparkling lights – whether adorning a freshly-cut tree or adding a festive touch to mantlepieces – form the heart of Christmas displays, but the rich pastel tones of poinsettias harness the beauty of nature to create their very own colour contrasts. Pink is a colour that’s traditionally associated with romance and a pink-topped poinsettia not only makes for a strikingly different display but can be situated close to the mistletoe! Plant breeders have worked their magic to introduce a host of pastel shades to poinsettia: why not opt for the warm tones of lemon-yellow, apricot, pink or salmon to stage a host of pastel accents that’ll give even the brightest set of fairy lights a run for their money? Don’t forget that cream poinsettias are unrivalled for adding a vintage touch to traditional decorations, contrasting beautifully with rustic dark interiors and the splendour of natural greenery.
Dare to be different!
Christmas is all about rekindling memories of childhood and yesteryear, using natural materials such as holly, ivy, cones and twigs that harness the beauty of rich tapestries of greens and browns, bringing mid-winter nature into the cosy warmth of our homes. For an inspirational display of old meets new, why not incorporate a variegated poinsettia to bring your decorations bang up to date? These marbled marvels make the ultimate stand-alone wow-factor or table-top display, or for added festive drama, can be planted en-masse in a bowl of contrasting tones. Often sporting mixed hues of red and cream, pink infused with lighter tones, or traditional red bracts set above variegated shades of green foliage, a marbled bi-colour poinsettia is guaranteed to be a talking point when your nearest and dearest arrive to celebrate Christmas together.
Quick tips: how to keep your poinsettia at its prime
– Grow in a warm, draught-free position that’s kept between 15 to 22 degrees.
– Plants relish lots of light, so choose a bright location with filtered sunlight.
– Only water when compost feels almost dry. Never leave pots standing in saucers of water.
– Around four weeks after purchase, start feeding monthly with indoor plant fertiliser