New at the Trials By P. Allen Hammer, Jim Barrett, Terril A. Nell and Roy A. Larson

Once again, GPN brings you the industry’s most complete coverage of last year’s poinsettia trials — from culture points to classifications and everything in between.

With the introduction of so many new and unique poinsettia cultivars, it has become impractical for a grower to evaluate them all. In conjunction with the breeding companies, we organized these trials several years ago to screen the new introductions and help growers in selecting the ones they will evaluate for their own production. Every poinsettia cultivar is different and performs better in some climates and production situations than in others.

A common question we receive is “which cultivar shouldI grow.” The answer to that question is complex, and eventually, only theindividual grower can make that decision. Some cultivars are relatively easy togrow and may be better for larger production operations. Other cultivars may bemore difficult to produce but have strong desirable traits in the retailmarket. Therefore, they are better for growers who can pay individual attentionto each cultivar’s particular characteristics. Other important factorsfor many growers are timing and handling. Some growers need later-finishingcultivars for a later market and others do not. Some growers like cultivarsthat can be finished early and held cool until shipped. In other situations,growers want cultivars that finish in sequence to ship at different times.

We visit each other’s trials and trials at otherlocations in the United States and Canada each year. The information from thesetrials is compiled to produce these articles. We are putting emphasis on thenewest cultivars, and detailed descriptions are included here. In accompanyingpieces, we have provided a list of recommended cultivars for differentclimates, page 10, and our selections of the best cultivars from thisfall’s trial, page 24. Next month, we will provide the results of consumersurveys conducted at the University of Florida and Purdue University. We alsodirect readers to our Web site,, where additional andmore detailed trial information on all of the cultivars can be found.

Red Cultivars

‘1-99’ (previously labeled Thanksgiving Redin some trials). 1-99 is anearly-flowering plant for upscale markets. Bracts are large, smooth and heldup. Branch strength is good, but it is more susceptible to Botrytis and BractEdge Burn than most other dark-leaf cultivars. Growth habit and appearance aresimilar to ‘Red Velvet’. At the time of this writing, the cultivarhad not been given a name. — Ecke.

Christmas Dream’. Christmas Dream has the potential to be a good cultivar, and we needto see it in wider production. It finishes early and has an average amount ofvigor. The large, dark red bracts are held up above the foliage, giving theappearance of a nice uniform plant. (Not pictured.) — Selecta Klemm.

‘Eternity Red’ (previously labeled Rebel Redin some trials). Eternity made our Best ofthe Trials list. It is important because it offers a nice bract presentation ina slightly vigorous, early cultivar. It should make a nice upscale plant.— Dummen.

‘Gala Red’.Gala Red is a good, new dark-leaf cultivar with considerable promise. Itfinishes early and has a compact growth habit. The bracts are bright red andare held up above the foliage. This gives it a slightly different appearancethan most other early cultivars, and consumers gave it one of the higher rankingsamong red cultivars. We need to learn more about this cultivar. (Not pictured.)— Oglevee.

‘Premium Red’. The general appearance of Premium is similar to ‘FreedomRed’ in terms of its bract color and shape and its dark greenleaves. However, Premium is lessvigorous than Freedom, as can be seen in the data from the three trial sites.— Dummen.

‘Red Diamond’. Red Diamond is important because it adds a good dark-leaf cultivar tothe late market. It is upright and will make a nice upscale plant. In warm climates,the bracts may roll down at the edges. It may need a little more growthregulator because of the late finish time. — Fischer.

‘Redberry Punch’. Along with ‘Champagne Punch’, ‘SnowberryPunch’ and ‘Strawberry Punch’, Redberry Punch is new tocomplement ‘Cranberry Punch’. Redberry is slightly less vigorousthan Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good upright branches and greater thanaverage vigor. They have excellent postharvest performance. Redberry probablyhas the best color. — Ecke.

‘Winterfest Red’. Along with Winterfest Pink, also new this year, Winterfest Red is anew dark-leaf cultivar. It performs much better in cooler climates than in warmclimates. In cool climates, it has medium vigor and timing is midseason. Inwarm climates, it is more vigorous and finishes later. — Oglevee.

Rose Cultivars

‘Champagne Punch’. Along with Snowberry Punch, Redberry Punch and Strawberry Punch,Champagne is new to complement Cranberry Punch. The growth habit, appearanceand timing generally fit with Cranberry. The punch cultivars have goodupright branches andgreater-than-average vigor. They have excellent postharvest performance.— Ecke.

White Cultivars

‘Festival White’. Along with ‘Festival Pink’, Festival White adds color thathas been needed to complement ‘Festival Red’. Its growth habit andtiming are similar to Festival Red, and like most dark-green leaf cultivars, itdoes not have strong bract color. — Oglevee.

‘Snowberry Punch’. Along with Champagne Punch, Redberry Punch and Strawberry Punch,Snowberry is new to complement Cranberry Punch. The growth habit, appearanceand timing generally fit with Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good uprightbranches and greater-than-average vigor. They have excellent postharvestperformance. — Ecke.

Coral Cultivars

‘Freedom Coral’. The Freedom family has two groups of cultivars: those like Freedom Redand those like ‘Bright Red Freedom’. Bright Red is less vigorousand has smaller leaves and bracts than Freedom Red. Additionally, the bractsare held up on Bright Red, and it finishes a little later than Freedom Red.Freedom Coral is a new color in the Freedom family that is similar to BrightRed Freedom. It will be most useful in specialty markets where designer colorsare desired. — Ecke.

Pink Cultivars

‘Festival Pink’. Along with Festival White, Festival Pink adds color that has beenneeded to complement Festival Red. Its growth habit and timing are similar toFestival Red, and like most dark-green leaf cultivars, it does not have strongbract color. — Oglevee.

‘Freedom Bright Pink’. The Freedom family has two groups of cultivars:those like Freedom Red and those like Bright Red Freedom. Bright Red is lessvigorous and has smaller leaves and bracts than Freedom Red. Additionally, thebracts are held up on Bright Red and it finishes a little later than FreedomRed. Bright Pink is new in the Freedom family and is similar to Bright Red. Itwill be useful in markets where designer colors are needed. (Not Pictured.)— Ecke.

‘Malibu Pink’. This is an improved pink that fits the Malibu series well. —Dummen.

‘Strawberry Punch’. Along with Champagne Punch, Snowberry Punch and Redberry Punch,Strawberry is new to complement Cranberry Punch. The growth habit, appearanceand timing generally fit with Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good, uprightbranches and greater than average vigor. They have excellent postharvestperformance. — Ecke.

‘Winterfest Pink’. Along with Winterfest Red, Winterfest Pink is a new dark-green leafcultivar in the Winterfest family. It performs much better in cooler climatesthan in warm climates. In cool climates, it has medium vigor and timing ismidseason. In warm climates, it is more vigorous and finishes later. —Oglevee.

Jingle Bells Cultivars

‘Sonora White Glitter’. This is an important addition to the jingle belltypes and is on our Best of the Trials list. It has very strong appeal withconsumers. This is a Sonora and has Sonora characteristics. It will finish inlate midseason. Also, it will have a tendency for the bracts to expand down intothe leaves. So, for upscale markets, the appearance will be improved by pullingthe bracts up to the top (fluffing). — Fischer. Á

Novelty Red Cultivars

’32-2000′.This is a novelty red that made our Best of the Trials list, where there is adetailed description. It should become an important cultivar and has potentialfor both chain store and independent retail markets. At the time of thiswriting, the cultivar had not been given a name. (Not pictured.) — Ecke.

‘Freedom Fireworks’. Fireworks is similar to Freedom Red, but the bractcolor is slightly brighter than Freedom Red. Fireworks’ distinguishingcharacteristic is the narrow, pointed bracts that are supposed to resembleflames of fire. Fireworks made our Best of the Trials list because it addsdiversity to the early red cultivars. — Ecke.

‘Jester Red’. The unique Jester series now has a Red to go with ‘JesterJingle’. The plants are very upright with a fewer-than-average number oflaterals. The bracts are long and pointed and are held slightly upright, whichmakes the plant resemble a jester’s hat. It can be produced in manydifferent formats and would best be used as a novelty. Timing is early, and ithas medium vigor. — Ecke.

Novelty Cultivars

‘Avant Garde’ (previously labeled J-57 insome trials). This is a novelty, marbletype that has similar appearance to ‘Strawberries ‘N Cream’.The appearance of these two cultivars is so different from other poinsettiasthat it is interesting two of them are being introduced in the same year. AvantGarde has more vigor and will make a larger plant easier than will Strawberries’N Cream.— Dummen.

‘Cortez Burgundy’. This is a new and exciting color that is appealing to consumers. Itis on our Best of the Trials list, where there is a discussion of it. It isimportant to recognize the characteristics of this cultivar to be successfulwith it. — Fischer.

‘Da Vinci’.Da Vinci should allow growers to go back to producing peppermint-typepoinsettias for the early market. It finishes a little ahead of Freedom Red andis slightly less vigorous. Consumers rated Da Vinci higher than the other earlypeppermint types, and it is on our Best of the Trials list. Not pictured— Fischer.

‘Strawberries ‘N Cream’. As noted above, Strawberries ‘N Cream andAvant Garde have the same general appearance. Strawberries ‘N Cream hasvery low vigor and should be used in smaller formats. Strawberries ‘NCream made our Best of the Trials list because of the high consumer ratings. Itwill be a good novelty plant. (Pictured on page 16.) — Ecke.

‘Winter Rose Deep Pink’. This is the newest addition to the importantWinter Rose family. The growth habit of Deep Pink is similar to Dark Red, andthey should be grown the same. It is important to avoid over watering,especially early. Also, try to use very little PGR; PGR used should be appliedearly in the crop. — Ecke.


Author’s Note: These trials would not be possiblewithout support from the breeders, our technicians, our universities and thepoinsettia growers. Special thanks: Dummen USA, Fischer USA, Selecta KlemmHorticultural Marketing Associates, Oglevee Ltd. and Paul Ecke Ranch. We extendthanks for technical support to Ingram McCall, North Carolina State University;Terri Kirk, Purdue University; and Carolyn Bartuska, University of Florida.

P. Allen Hammer, Jim Barrett, Terril A. Nell and Roy A. Larson

Allen Hammer is professor of floriculture, Purdue University; Jim Barrett is professor of floriculture, University of Florida and GPN’s consulting editor; Terril Nell is professor and horticulture department chair, University of Florida; and Roy Larson is retired professor of floriculture, North Carolina State University.

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