Minggu, 06 Desember 2020

O'Neill nursery creates sea of red for the holidays - CT Post


O'NEILL, Neb. (AP) — A sea of red flows through O’Neill. And it has nothing to do with Husker football.

This sea is comprised of thousands of poinsettias showing off their bright colored bracts.

The explosion of color takes place every Christmas season at Shamrock Nursery. It’s orchestrated by Delray and Lib Kumm and their staff who planted around 18,000 poinsettia cuttings a few months ago.

“They all started from cuttings ... purchased from a greenhouse in Northeast Iowa,” said Kumm, who has a degree in horticulture and worked in the horticulture field for more than 45 years. “We started planting in late July.”

After months of tender care, including being kept in a temperature-controlled environment, receiving specific amounts of sunlight and darkness and the right amount of water, the poinsettias are blooming in time to enhance the Christmas season. Today, they fill tables and benches and even hang from the ceilings in the greenhouses.

While most of the plants sport red bracts, there are also several shades of pink, white and even purple and blue — the latter two created by spraying the flowers with dye.

This year, the Kumms are offering 12 varieties of red poinsettias and 11 others, which is just a few of the hundreds of types available today, he said. More are always being produced.

“When you buy (cuttings), 4½ cents of the royalty is used to develop new varieties,” he told the Norfolk Daily News.

Some are small enough to fit into a tea cup, while others are several feet high and just as wide and sport a plethora of bracts.

Regardless of the variety, poinsettias require a bit of attention to take them from cutting to blooming plant. For instance, to persuade them to bloom, they must spend a specific amount of time in total darkness and a specific amount of time in daylight.

“When nights are longer than days, that’s what tells them to initiate buds,” Kumm said. “So don’t turn on the lights in the greenhouse. If you can read a newspaper (in the greenhouse), that’s too much light.”

While the cuttings planted last July are in full bloom, what appear to be a poinsettia’s flowers aren’t flowers at all. Instead, they are actually leaves called bracts. The flower is the yellow center, which is where the pollen is produced.

The Kumms grow some of their poinsettias in a 48x120-foot glass greenhouse they built in 2016. The curved glass roof allows condensation to run off instead of dripping onto plants. Technology controls the environment. More poinsettias grow in eight of the 17 greenhouses on their property, located on the east end of O’Neill along U.S. Highway 20.

Poinsettias are available for sale at their O’Neill business, and hundreds are shipped to flower shops, greenhouses and retail outlets around the area. More are purchased by non-profit organizations, which sell them to raise money.

Although poinsettias are considered Christmas plants, with proper care, they will bloom well through Valentine’s Day, Kumm said. That care includes not overwatering the plants, which is a common cause of their early demise.

Before watering, check the soil to see if it’s dry, Kumm said. Then cut an opening in any foil or paper around the plant so water can drain through it. If the plant is sitting in a pan or dish, empty any water that accumulates in it. Another option is to put the plant in a sink, slowly pour water on the soil ­— not on top of the plant — and allow the water to drain before returning the plant to the spot where it’s being displayed.

Poinsettias do best when the room temperature is around 65 degrees F, he said. And they like bright sunlight.

There’s no need to throw away poinsettias after the holidays. Instead, they can be cut back and replanted. With proper care, they will even bloom again in the winter, Kumm said.

“When the plant starts to decline, cut it back a half or two-thirds, keep it alive in a sunny window, plant it in a larger pot and put it outside, in the shade,” Kumm said.

Beginning the first day of fall, it will need complete darkness from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., and then full sun during the day, he said. If the nighttime temperatures are too warm, it may not bud.

While red plants are still the most popular in rural areas, other colors are gaining momentum.

Recently, “one church wanted all blue ... and another wanted pink and purple,” Kumm said. “It’s hard to outguess the public.”

The Link Lonk

December 06, 2020 at 01:08PM

O'Neill nursery creates sea of red for the holidays - CT Post



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