Christmas is right around the corner and shoppers are out in record numbers. Folks are almost obsessed with getting their trees, poinsettias and gifts for family and friends. If you enjoy giving living plants for Christmas, consider giving poinsettias.
Last week, Russell Nagata wrote about the history of poinsettias. Today, let’s focus on purchase, propagation and care of this amazing plant.
Poinsettias, especially in Kona, are in spectacular color now. Although mainland folks think of the poinsettia as a Christmas flower, for us it blooms from late October through March. So if you don’t have a showy supply in your home and garden, now’s the time to start looking for them on the market.
Purchasing potted stock from a garden center or nursery is the easiest way to establish plantings of the holiday ornamental. However, some green thumb operators scavenge the neighborhood for hardwood cuttings when fellow gardeners prune their poinsettias following the flowering season. Getting plants this way can make you feel like a turkey if you choose cuttings from disease infected plants. If you get healthy plants, you can be sure to avoid “fowl” play.
There are a number of poinsettias available. They come in traditional reds or you can enjoy color combinations indoors and in the garden if you mingle the red plantings with white and pink varieties.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the poinsettia. And in case you have forgotten your poinsettia facts since last year here’s a refresher on what you need to know about this festive plant.
Whether poinsettias are in the traditional velvety red color or any of the new streaked, spotted or dyed forms of plum, peach, blueberry, orange or cranberry colors, these plants help set the stage for a great holiday celebration.
For all the cheer that poinsettias bring, there are still some people that look upon this festive plant as poison. Stop, let it be said up front — poinsettias are not poisonous! This myth started almost ninety years ago in Hawaii and amazingly still continues to this day. Apparently an Army officer’s two-year-old child died after supposedly eating a poinsettia leaf. The Physician who made the diagnosis later realized he had identified the wrong plant. He had planned to return to the mainland to correct his error when he suddenly died (unrelated to poinsettias) and the story spread and spread. Although it was later determined to be a case of incorrect plant identification, many people still believed that poinsettias are poisonous.
As recently as 1995, sixty-six percent of people surveyed by the Society of American Florists believed that poinsettias were poisonous even though there was a lot of evidence to disprove this myth. Researchers at Ohio State University tested the effects of ingesting high doses of leaves, stems and sap and found the plant non-toxic.
Craft Fairs & Markets
Hoala Winter Craft Sale A variety of craft, food and specialty booths. Hoala School, 1067 A California Ave.: Sat., 12/4, (9am–3pm) 621-1898
Mamo Arts Market The arts market features Native Hawaiian artisans, keiki activities and live music. Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St.: Sat., 12/4, (9am–5pm) Free. 847-3511
36th Annual Mayor’s Craft Sale The yearly event features unique handmade items created by city senior clubs, along with other exciting arts, crafts and entertainment. Neal Blaisdell Center, 777 Ward Ave.: Sat., 12/4, (9am–2pm) Free. 768-3045
“It’s Really Nice” Fine Arts & Crafts Show A fine arts and crafts show through the holidays. [www.louispohlgallery.com]. Louis Pohl Gallery, 1111 Nuuanu Ave.: Runs through Tue., 12/28, 521-1812
7th Annual Christmas in Honolulu An evening craft fair with local art, clothing, soup mixes, jewelry, ceramics, purses and more. Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 South Beretania St.: Tue., 11/30, (5–8:30pm) Free. 734-3693
12 Ways of Christmas A dozen craft artisans showcase one-of-a-kind items. Cafe Laufer, 3565 Waialae Ave., Mon., 11/29, (5–9pm) 753-3611
Bringing a little more back home with you than just indigestion and a few extra pounds? If your checked baggage includes an entire Christmas tree then look no further than Delta to help you get your holiday tree back home in one piece. Most airlines would probably just laugh at you if you brought a Christmas tree to the airport, but apparently Delta will welcome you and your Tannenbaum.
Freshly cut trees will be accepted as limited-release baggage—that means you can’t flip out if they break a branch—for all flights within the nifty fifty. That’s right…no problem bringing one back to Hawaii, so you can share a little holiday aloha with your friends and family in the islands. You’ll just need to send it through the agricultural inspection folks when you arrive in paradise.
Like any checked baggage, trees will be subject to all kinds of baggage allowance and size restrictions, so that means no crazy ginormous trees. We’re thinking that also means that it will cost just as much to check a tree as it would to check a bag, so carry-on this holiday season and send the tree underneath!
Just make sure that the tree is wrapped all nice and snug in burlap or something similar, and that the root ball or base is covered as well. They don’t want any dirt or branches escaping into the cargo hold and you don’t want to find a mangled tree waiting for you at baggage claim.