Deep velvet red, bright red mixed with baby whites, rich pink, white and peppermint—a hearty harvest has reaped a bountiful feast for the public eye.
We're talking poinsettias, and they're plentiful at Morrisville State College where the Horticulture Institute is selling its annual colorful crop of the holiday decoration destined to stun tabletops, offices, mantles and friends.
The festive blooms will be sold for 10 days at the Spader Horticulture Complex on-campus. The sale, which is open to the public, runs Nov. 30-Dec. 4 from noon to 5 p.m., and Dec. 7-11 from noon to 5 p.m.
Plans are to also sell the plants at the Syracuse Regional Market on Dec. 5 and 12.
The college's annual sale promises an array of potted decorations, but this year's crop is “spectacular,” according to Dave Soucy, assistant professor of horticulture who heads the sale with students.
Reasonably priced, the plants were grown by students in the college's Horticulture Production class as part of an assignment. They started as rooted cuttings at the beginning of the semester, which when cultivated with students' care and prime weather conditions, flourished into magnificent sights.
New this year is a rich, red poinsettia flanked with beautiful bright white Euphorbia, giving the effect of baby's breath, Soucy said.
Sizes range from six- to eight-inch potted plants, but don't let the pot size fool you.
“The crop as a whole is bigger and showier than ever before,” Soucy said. “These are extra-large, premium plants you don't see in the industry today.”
The college's Horticulture Institute plans and runs the sale, which raises money to enhance the college's horticulture program. Through the institute, students are gaining hands-on entrepreneurial experience that is enhancing their skills and making them marketable in their field.
Only cash and checks are accepted as payment for the sale.
Origin of the Poinsettia and Other Facts
Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an amateur botanist and first United States ambassador to Mexico, introduced the plant that became known as the poinsettia to this country after he discovered a shrub with brilliantly colored red leaves growing by the side of the road in Taxco, Mexico, in December 1828.
December 12 is National Poinsettia Day and the United States has observed this official day since the mid-1800s to honor the man and the plant he introduced.
More than 65 million poinsettia plants are sold nationwide throughout the year.
Poinsettias come in a variety of colors from red, salmon, and apricot to yellow, cream, and white. There are also unusual speckled or marbled varieties like "Jingle Bells" and "Candy Cane" with several colors blended together.
Caring For Poinsettia Plants
Avoid hot or cold drafts, keep the soil moist not soggy, and place in a room with sufficient natural light and temperatures of around 60 to 70 degrees F. Water when the soil begins to dry.
Protect plants from exposure to wind or cold when transporting as they are highly sensitive to cold temperatures.
Place in indirect sunlight for at least six hours. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse light with a shade or sheer curtain.
Students in Morrisville State College's associate degree horticulture program can choose from options in floral design, horticulture production, landscape development/management or general transfer. The college also offers a bachelor degree in horticulture business management and an associate degree in landscape architectural studies.
Morrisville State College offers more than 80 bachelor and associate degrees and options.