About 3,000 poinsettias have been carefully nurtured at the west suburban Wheaton park for much of the year, and they will soon be looking for a home for the holidays.
Among the bunch, you'll find traditional poinsettias as well as 16 novelty variations. Just among the red ones, there's Silver Star Red, which has snow-like white trimming on the border of the green foliage; Ice Punch which has deep red leaves or "bracts" as they're called, with splashes of pink in the center; and Shimmer Surprise, which is known as a Jingle Bells variety and sports pink polka dots.
"These are new varieties that they've come up with through the years. They are mutations from a red poinsettia," said Bob Carr, senior grower at Cantigny Park.
The real surprise may be the plants that you might not easily recognize as poinsettias. Ruby Frost, for example, has deeply scalloped red and yellow leaves. A single-stalked plant with pink and yellow bracts is known as Winter Blush. And Mars Pink might make you want to skip ahead to Valentine's Day.
Growers at Cantigny Park say with the proper TLC, your poinsettia could actually last through the winter. In fact, they say it could live all year long -- whichever type you choose.
"Normally, people are more prone to buy a red poinsettia even though we have so many option to chose from. It's still traditional for people to get a red one," Carr said.
The Cantigny Foundation Greenhouse will be hosting a Poinsettia Show and Sale on Tuesday, November 29 from 10-2 p.m. The greenhouse is typically not open to the public, so it will be your only opportunity to see these rare variations up close or to make a purchase.
For more information, visit www.cantigny.org.
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