2008 National Poinsettia Trials Report: Best-Performing Cultivars

March 20, 2009 - 12:36

The National Poinsettia Cultivar Trials, conducted at North Carolina State University, Purdue University, the University of Florida and Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C., highlighted the year’s most captivating cultivars.

Of the 113 cultivars in the trials this year, each location picked the 10 cultivars that
performed best for them. The 12 cultivars selected at two or more locations were designated as Best of the Trials for 2008.

'Ice Punch' emerged as the clear “winner” at all four trial sites. The Classic series, ‘Premium Picasso’ and ‘Prestige Early Red’ were selected at three of the four locations. ‘Polar Bear’ and ‘Pink Candy’ were the only two standalone new cultivars to make the Best of Trials list. Other new cultivars on the list are three new colors in the Christmas Angel series and two new colors in the Christmas Feelings series.

The individual locations base their selections for best cultivars on a range of characteristics, including consumer reactions, plant appearance and ease of production. An important consideration for a newer cultivar is often whether it fills an industry need in terms of uniqueness, color and/or finish timing.

Many of the newer cultivars are excellent but not distinctly better than existing cultivars. The quality of cultivars introduced the past several years has steadily increased and it is more difficult for a breeder to produce new cultivars that are distinct improvements or are distinctively different.

The trials are organized in cooperation with the major poinsettia breeder companies and this year the University of Connecticut, who submitted their cultivars for an independent critique.

For more in-depth coverage, check out the May issue of GPN.

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