Colorful Tradition at UNH
David Goudreault, manager of the Macfarlane Greenhouses,with one of the varieties available this weekend at UNH greenhouses. (GRETYL MACALASTER Photo)
More than 100 poinsettia varieties will be on display during the eighth annual Poinsettia Trials Open House at the University of New Hampshire’s Macfarlane Greenhouse Dec. 5-7.
More than 100 poinsettia varieties will be on display during the Eighth Annual Poinsettia Trial Open House at the University of New Hampshire's Macfarlane Greenhouse Dec. 5-7. More modern varieties, like this, feature a more prominent Cyathia, the actual flowers of the plant, than in older ones. GRETYL MACALASTER
This year, more than 100 varieties are on display from traditional, vibrant reds to creamy whites, soft and sharp pinks and variegated varieties with a unique name for each plant.
Visitors will assist in research by recording their favorites from among new and different varieties. The information will be reported back to the breeders.
David Goudreault, manager of the Macfarlane Greenhouse facility, said this year the color is better and the plants are stronger, but there are no dramatic newcomers to the scene. He said white varieties are something breeders have been working with to get a purer white.
Most of the improvement to the plants has been in terms of pattern stability and stability of the plant overall. He said breeders are looking for plants that are more durable for shipping and handling while ensuring the end user will receive a quality plant that will last them through the holidays.
"That was not the case even five years ago. Older varieties that were weaker and didn't perform as well have been eliminated and replaced with new varieties," Goudreault said. "You could take any one of these plants and it would do extraordinarily well."
Goudreault said decorating is an important part of many people's holidays, and poinsettias are a natural addition, no matter the color scheme.
A quality plant will last into January or February, Goudreault said, and with some care, can be kept as a foliage plant throughout the year. Re-flowering a poinsettia is not an easy task either, but for those interested, UNH Cooperative Extension has created a pamphlet of instructions.The UNH event is hosted by the Macfarlane Greenhouses, the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and the Thompson School Horticultural facility.
The open house is held in the Macfarlane Greenhouses, 296 Mast Road in Durham on the west edge of the UNH-Durham campus.
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