This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Living Room Friendly Poinsettias

'Stargazer Marble'

Researchers have developed a new strain of Poinsettia that is likely to prove much more living room friendly. Not that this was their original objective. For commercial producers of the plants it is increasingly important to explore ways of reducing the energy input into greenhouse production. As part of a collaborative project between breeder and commercial grower, Agriom and Florema, a new range of Poinsettia cultivars has been produced called ‘Eco-Stars’. Financial support for the research was provided by the Dutch Commodity Board for Horticulture.

The breeding objective was not just to create cultivars that grow and develop well at lower temperatures. They must also perform well at normal higher temperature regimes. This allows a grower, at any given time, to change between a high energy regime 20°C (68ºF) and a low energy regime 17°C (62ºF) in accordance with desired finishing times for the crop and relative energy costs. If a crop is growing too fast, or the delivery date for a client is postponed, a grower can switch from a high energy to low energy regime as part of the overall crop management. Another reason that these new cultivars must also perform well at a higher temperature regime is because growers will often have other crops in the same greenhouse block that require the higher energy regime.

So it would seem that the commercial grower is often faced with similar circumstances in terms of light and temperature variation as the home gardener, thus the adaptations in breeding made to create these new cultivars must have benefits to the gardener growing these plants in the house where both temperature variation and often extreme heat, along with variable light, often lead to the early demise of the plants. A number of selections in the ‘Eco-stars’ series have been made, named and are now available: ‘Stargazer Red’, StarGazer White’ and ‘Stargazer Marble’. Photo: Florema

To see these new cultivars illustrated on the GardenMessenger web-site click here.

Happy Gardening



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