Stepping out of the cold and into the cozy greenhouses at Janoski’s Farm and Greenhouse in Clinton reveals an expansive sea of red, white and pink poinsettia bracts. That’s right, bracts, as the colors we see on poinsettias aren’t the flowers at all. The blooms are actually in the center of the plant and are often referred to as beads.
Mike Janoski is an owner here and says those flowers are a great indication of the plant’s freshness, which will also translate into a longer-lasting plant.
“Look at the beads on top. If they are not fully open and not falling off, the plant is going to last longer,” he says.
These plants were started from plugs in July and have been grown out in the same place since then. Looking over the flowers shows that most of these plants have very few yellow blooms in the beads.
“It’s a challenge every year,” Janoski says of growing these holiday plants. “It gets easier, but it doesn’t get easier. Once you think you’ve got it down pat, there’s always something challenging.”
His family has been growing them here since Mike’s late father Sonny started planting them in 1978. Not only is the greenhouse filled with thousands of plants for homeowners, 200 churches around the area use their plants as holiday decorations.
“Poinsettias are very sensitive,” Janoski says. “When they get grown in Canada or wherever and they get put in a box for a week at a time and shipped, they go through a lot of stress.”
The plants can’t take any cold either. Before it leaves the greenhouse, the pot is covered in foil and then sleeved with plastic. Janoski warns to make holiday plant shopping the last stop on your trip during cold weather as poinsettias can die if left in the car during frigid temperatures.
Once home, the plant will need drainage and light, he added. Either remove the foil or poke holes in the bottom, and water as needed. Putting a dish below the pot will catch the excess water; just don’t ever leave standing water in there. You don’t want the plant to dry out or get too much water.
“Once a poinsettia wilts, it’s hard to get it to come back,” Janoski says. “If you get it to wilt and it’s telling you it needs water, it’s almost too wet.”
A window will keep the plant happiest for the winter, and it can even go out into the garden after all chance of frost has passed.
The biggest sellers are the traditional red, cream and pink varities, but there are others that hold their own in the market. ‘Ice Punch,’ ‘Jingle Bells’ and others have variegated bracts that some customers prefer.
The ‘Princettia’ series has been around for just a few years. They come in two colors: pink and it’s one of the only pure white varieties opposed to a cream color.
“They have a really long shelf life in the house, a really good keeper,” Janoski says of ‘Princettia.’
But regardless of what variety is purchased, poinsettias that are cared for correctly can live on the windowsill into summer.
“Some people have poinsettias in their house until July 4,” Janoski adds.
Poinsettias are also rumored to be poisonous.
“That’s an old wives’ tale,” he says. “If you eat too much of it, you’re going to get sick.”
Technically the plant is toxic, but the white sap is not palatable when tasted by people or pets.
Janoski has always strived to sell the best quality plants to his customers.
“We like to see them get a plant here that’s going to last longer for them,” he says. “You want to see them last as long as possible.”
Doug Oster is editor of Everybody Gardens, a website operated by 535Media, LLC. Reach him at 412-965-3278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See other stories, videos, blogs, tips and more at everybodygardens.com.