MASON, W.Va. — Heat and humidity, county fairs, back-to-school and football.
These are the things most people think about when you mention August. But what about Christmas?
At Bob’s Market and Greenhouses in Mason, more than 50,000 pots of poinsettias have been planted this week and last, according to Scott Barnitz, vice president.
Poinsettias, the traditional flower of Christmas, arrive at Bob’s as unrooted cuttings, coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and as far away as Kenya, Africa. Barnitz said the cuttings are delivered by Fed Ex and arrive in cold storage.
The cuttings are then placed in foam wedges that allow roots to grow. After about four weeks on the wedge, there are enough roots established to put into containers.
Barnitz said while the same number of pots are being planted this year as there were last, because the sizes of the pots were reconfigured, more plants were needed this year. Bob’s offers three sizes of poinsettia containers: 6 1/2-inches, which contains one plant; 8-inches, holding three plants; and 10-inches, which has four plants.
“Bigger ones have been in more demand,” Barnitz said.
Since the greenhouse has cut back on the one-plant pots and increased the two larger ones, more than 100,000 plants were used to fill the 50,000 containers. Now that they are in their final pots, Barnitz said they will allow the plants to grow a few more weeks before the next step in the process.
To provide the nice canopy of flowers people desire in their poinsettias, the plants are trimmed to allow lateral branching. Barnitz stated this will provide up to six or more blooms from each plant.
There also comes a point in time when the poinsettias can have no artificial light at night. This is to allow the poinsettias to turn their brilliant color.
Eighty percent of the poinsettias grown at Bob’s will be red, which Barnitz said remains the customer favorite.
“Red is the standard color,” said Barnitz. “It’s how it occurs in nature. All of the rest have been manipulated to achieve their color.”
Bob’s will also have the two remaining traditional colors of pink and white, and will feature many specialty varieties this year including “Ice Punch,” “Red Glitter,” and new on the scene, “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.