Popular poinsettias for 2023
Poinsettias are one of those odd crops that we only get to see and evaluate once a year, but luckily it happens to be right before booking season, leaving the trial notes fresh in our heads.
The Heimos family in Millstadt, Illinois, puts on a fantastic trial each November — in fact, it’s become the largest and most attended poinsettia trial in North America. Their team combines all the genetics available on the market with black-out and natural-day growing, so breeders, brokers, growers, and retailers can get an accurate read on what will be a standout for the following season.
2021 was a slow year for new poinsettia introductions, but many of the soft introductions from the previous season had their chance to shine — and the breeders could focus on the best-of-the-best within each of their portfolios.
Here are some definite standouts from this past November’s visit.
‘Kayla’ is the earliest red in the Beekenkamp lineup and has a stunning presentation with a dark classic red color on a boldly textured, oak leaf-shaped bract. The contrast of the red against the charcoal-green foliage makes for a bold holiday plant and will be ready for retail in early November.
2. ‘Robyn Pink’
Pairing with the Beekenkamp superstar ‘Robyn Red’ is the new ‘Robyn Pink’. This is the beginning of a Robyn family for Beekenkamp, and these two varieties pair perfectly together for a duo mix. The bract presentation has excellent coverage over the canopy of the plant and presents bold cyathia.
A fabulous new poinsettia, which had its first soft launch last season, is ‘FabYULEous’. This variety lives up to its name with a gorgeous presentation of a full body and heavily textured bracts in a velvety traditional red holiday color. Growers will appreciate the V-shaped habit while producing a fantastic florist quality plant for high retail value.
The Tidings pair have made quite the show at trials across North America this winter, and Heimos was no exception. These two varieties are perfectly matched for upscale holiday combinations. Both showcase warm rose gold tones in a reverse pattern of one another with oversized bracts and a well-rounded plant habit.
‘Alaska’ is the brightest white poinsettia on the market, with an exquisite holly-shaped bract for a unique holiday presentation. This pure white variety with a perfect mid-season finish has outstanding versatility in everything from mini pot production to trees. It has good post-harvest performance and works well in standard and cool-finish regimes.
6. ‘Ranch Red’
For 10 years, Steve Rinehart has been working on creating the perfect poinsettia for growers and consumers. His ‘Ranch Red’ is an upright-facing plant with upright bracts that will never sag for the consumer. But most important to the look of this unique variety is the most distinct gold cyathia I’ve seen in trials! And these oversized cyathia stay tight over a more extended period, allowing growers to sell this plant for three continuous weeks with premium quality.
7. ‘Christmas Candle’
The new ‘Christmas Candle’ is a 2023 launch from Selecta and gives growers some substantial advantages. First, the plants have exceptional stem strength, so no ring is needed for production. Second, the plant has a unique character where the bracts color up exceptionally early, while the cyathia are slower to develop, providing a much longer sales window at retail.
8. ‘Brilliant White’
The new ‘Brilliant White’ finally brings growers a true white poinsettia with the bract thickness of a traditional red. Generally, these pure white varieties have a thinner bract, leading to tearing and bruising in transit, but ‘Brilliant White’ solves that issue with superb durability.
The Princettia family launched a distinctive category for poinsettia growers. With their unique miniature bracts and intense colors not found in traditional poinsettia breeding, they’ve created a fashionable market for those looking for something outside the ordinary. All Princettia varieties are family sports, so growers can mix and match any to create bold combinations in mixed containers and bowls for premium retail sales.
10. Princettia Queen
The unique Princettia genetics color range is now available in two distinct product sizes. The traditional Princettia varieties are more compact and early to market, with a 7-week response time. Now Suntory Flowers has launched a complete lineup of Princettia Queen colors, which are more vigorous and suitable for an 8-inch program with a slightly later response time of 8 weeks.
Breeding by Syngenta, distribution
by Express Seed
‘Ruby’ caught my eye as a new introduction and in a color class of its own this year. It’s not as plum-colored as merlot types, but definitely a more decadent ruby red. I see this as an excellent opportunity to pair with some of the other pure whites found in this past year’s trial to create a high-end look at retail.
For retailers looking to go big, ‘Toro’ is a perfect pick with exceptional vigor and durable shipability. This variety sports a traditional Christmas red color with oversized bracts. And ‘Toro’ has excellent heat tolerance, making it a standout for southern growers.
Ball Seed Co.
13. Fantasy Colors
Andrew Lee, who heads up the line of Fantasy Colors dyes and glitters for Ball Seed, has a great time teasing me about this product line. He’s been determined over the years to get me to put these in my house, and while he’s yet to succeed in adding them to my personal décor, I cannot ignore the vast value of this product in the industry. His lineup of accents adds considerable sales and margin to growers across North America and, I assume, opens additional consumers who wouldn’t otherwise purchase a traditional poinsettia during the season.
While this program has been around and growing for 19 years, the last five have seen the most significant growth. Growers have learned how to automate the process, supermarkets have adopted the product in a big way and retailers have realized a price increase of $2 to $5 per plant, when done with quality. Heimos saw a 34% increase in their painted program in just one year, which now makes up 10% of their entire poinsettia program.
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