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Source: Kimberly Williams, 785-532-1434, kwilliam@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Tim Lindemuth, 785-532-5061, tlindemuth@k-state.com

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009

SOME NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN POINSETTIAS TO BE OFFERED AT K-STATE SALE

MANHATTAN -- Nearly 50 different varieties of holiday poinsettias -- including some never-before-seen types -- will be displayed and offered to the public as a fundraiser for the Kansas State University Gardens.

The flowering plants will be on sale at the gardens' visitor center, 1500 Denison Ave., from 1-6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. The cost is $10 for a 6.5-inch plant or six for $50, while 10-inch centerpieces are $15 each.

"Several cultivars have not yet been named or released by the breeding companies," said Kimberly Williams, K-State professor of horticulture whose students in the Greenhouse Operations Management class grew the poinsettias as a hands-on lab project and to generate information for industry.

"Some plants aren't even available in supermarkets. However, many of the same cultivars that are produced by regional growers are available in our selection," she said.

Williams described the flowers, which are often used in holiday decorating, as everything from the favorite red, to peach, white, pink, speckled and bicolored.

Three international poinsettia breeding companies provided the cultivar trials to the students to grow in the teaching space of the Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center greenhouses at K-State.

Related to the sale, Williams will deliver the public presentation, "Culture and Care of the Christmas Flower," at 10 a.m. Dec. 5 in 2414 Throckmorton Hall.

Williams offers these poinsettia pointers to help make the plants last through the holidays and the winter:

* "The biggest mistake is to overwater, which causes problems with root rot," she said.

* Don't let plants sit in water, such as a plastic sleeve or pot that doesn't drain.

* Allow the plants to dry down evenly between waterings, but not so much that the leaves droop.

* Avoid displaying the plants in cold or drafty areas of the home, like right next to cold windows.