Jennifer Schultz Nelson
Extension Educator, Horticulture
Poinsettia 'Winter Rose'
If I asked you to name a flower associated with Christmas, most of you would instantly reply "the poinsettia". The picture in our heads is most likely the typical red, white or pink bracts surrounding the tiny yellow flowers in the center. Despite the color differences, most would agree that poinsettias generally have a similar appearance. I thought so too until I saw the 'Winter Rose' poinsettia.
This is a truly new form for the poinsettia. The colored bracts curl under, much like a gathered seam. It resembles a large rose-like bloom. The bracts persist after other poinsettias have perished–it is very likely that you will still be enjoying the plant in February and even longer.
As different as 'Winter Rose' looks, its care is much like that of other poinsettias. When purchasing, look for plants with flowers just starting to open. Many people mistake the colorful bracts for the flowers. The flowers are actually very small and yellow, nestled in the center of the colorful bracts, which are modified leaves.
When you take your new poinsettia home, make sure it is wrapped to protect from the cold winter winds. Even brief exposure to freezing temperatures can prompt the poinsettia to drop its leaves. Care should be taken to place your new poinsettia in a warm bright location in your home. Remember that poinsettias are a tropical plant, used to being in a 60 to 70ºF greenhouse. Temperatures that fall much below this range will damage the plant and cause leaf drop, and temperatures much higher will shorten the bloom time.
Poinsettias only need water when the soil feels dry. Again, there is a happy medium when it comes to watering. Too little will cause the plant to wilt and the lower leaves to drop. Too much will cause the lower leaves to yellow then drop.
More information on poinsettias can be found at the U of I Extension website:
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/poinsettia/index.html. New poinsettia varieties like 'Winter Rose' are usually found most easily through your local florist or garden center rather than large discount stores.