Making a Point About Poinsettias By Tim Hodson

Did you grow poinsettias in 2008? How did they sell this year? How did your 2008 poinsettia season differ from other years? Did any variety perform better than the others in the greenhouse? At retail? Why? What kind of feedback did you get from your customers? Did the state of the economy impact your poinsettia decision-making process?

That’s a lot of questions to ask, but now is the time to be asking them. As I write this in mid-January, Christmas 2008 is barely a memory for many, but breeders, researchers and growers are already starting to think about Christmas 2009 — and that means many of them are already starting to make their poinsettia decisions.

With 2008’s production and sales figures still fresh in your mind, this issue of GPN contains results from the 2008 National Poinsettia Trials. Hopefully, this article will provide you with some of the information you might need to make the right decisions in 2009.

The National Poinsettia Trials

To help you make educated poinsettia decisions, this issue features the new varieties that were trialed this past fall in the National Poinsettia Trials at North Carolina State University, Purdue University and the University of Florida. This year, breeders introduced 25 new cultivars in the trials. These cultivars are expected to be available to growers in 2009.

In the “New Releases for 2009” article (page 20), Drs. Jim Barrett, John Dole and Roberto Lopez report on how the different varieties performed in their greenhouses in their different regions of the country.

Next month, we will present the results of the consumer preference surveys that were done at the three universities as well as Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C. Nearly 1,500 consumers participated this year and selected their favorite poinsettia cultivars. The March issue will give you some insight to what the consumers liked and didn’t like so you can make some informed decisions this year.

In the Zone

You can always find additional information about the different cultivars, growing tips and trials results from years past in the Poinsettia Zone on our website,

Also, don’t forget to check out the latest edition of Hort TV on!

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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