The Truth about Poinsettia

Bored with the same old poinsettia plants you put out every year? Time to diversify.

By Emily Main


These fragant daffodil-like paperwhites can be swapped in for poinsettias this holiday.Paperwhites
The houseplants second on Ciesinski's poinsettia-alternative list are paperwhites. Their fragrant white flowers resemble daffodils, not surprising since they belong to the same species. One complaint about this plant is that the flowers can grow too tall and become top-heavy, causing the container to topple over. So researchers at the Cornell University Flowerbulb Research Program came up with a solution: Plant paperwhite bulbs in the traditional gravel-and-water mix, and after they begin to show roots, pour out the water and replace it with a mixture of water and 4 to 6 percent alcohol (vodka or gin will do). By “pickling your paperwhites,” you'll reduce their growth by a third and prevent toppling.