Poinsettias make yearly appearance

ELKINS – Growing poinsettias involves much more than just throwing out a handful of seeds and seeing what happens, and Larry Gouer, of Mary’s Greenhouse of Elkins, has been perfecting his poinsettias for nearly 40 years.

“Some poinsettias are easier to grow than others,” Gouer said. “The hardest to grow this year has been the Red Pixies, because it takes work to keep them small without making them scraggly.”

Gouer said Mary’s Greenhouse is full of the beautiful flowers most folks associate with the Christmas season, with 35 different varieties and about 4,000 plants to choose from. This weekend, Mary’s is featuring a 20 percent cash-and-carry purchase, and everyone will receive a free Red Pixie poinsettia with any purchase.

Poinsettias come in every size, shade and price range. The business also offers a hand-dyed poinsettia in West Virginia University colors. But Gouer said the most popular color has always been and will always be red. Gouer said he begins planting the cuts for the big poinsettias in mid-July and finishes in mid-August. The last ones started are the Red Pixies – the smallest variety he offers.

“The second most-requested color is Ruby Frost and Red Glitter,” Gouer said. “When they first tried to breed red and white speckled poinsettias, they were very unstable. You could get different variations on each plant.”

Gouer said his shop is one of 10 greenhouses that conduct the poinsettia trials in the United States.

“I was picked by the poinsettia breeders to have the Poinsettia Trials,” Gouer said. “I have 122 varieties, and welcome folks to come by and vote for their favorites. The trials will run through Dec. 24 and those who vote for their favorites will be entered in a drawing for a free jumbo poinsettia.”

The Mary’s Greenhouse Poinsettia Extravaganza and launch of the 2013 Poinsettia Trials will continue today until 1 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The greenhouse is located at 300 Ward Ave. in Elkins.

Contact Beth Christian Broschart at 304-636-2124 ext. 114 or by emailing bbroschart@theintermountain.com. Follow her on Twitter at ITM_Broschart.