It’s time again for The National Poinsettia Trials, which are a collaboration of the research and trialing efforts of three universities (Purdue University, University of Florida and North Carolina State University), one commercial site (Homewood Nursery, Raleigh, N.C.) and five commercial breeders (Paul Ecke Ranch, Oglevee, Ltd., Fischer USA, Selecta First Class and Dummen).
Trials will take place Nov. 28 at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and Heartland Growers, Westfield, Ind.; Nov. 30 at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., and Homewood Nurseries; and Dec. 5 at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
The trials were established to provide an independent evaluation of the newest poinsettia cultivars being introduced. This makes it easier for growers because there are too many new cultivars out there for growers to adequately evaluate all of them. Individual poinsettia varieties require different production procedures, so these trials are able to accommodate those differences instead of having the growers work around all of their different crops to identify the ones that work best for them. Additionally, adequately judging a cultivar takes up to 2-3 years and uses much of the bench space that could be used for known sellers.
That is where the poinsettia trials come in. The trial sites can have the cultivars on the bench and ready for the growers to judge. It is a great way to pick what will work best in the greenhouse for outstanding sales during the winter holiday season.
As far as tools to help you learn more about your poinsettia crops, visit the Ecke Ranch poinsettia bulletin board, http://eckeranchtechhelp.com/eve/ubb.x . It is a good place to get answers to questions and learn from other growers’ experiences.
If you can’t make it to the trials, look for the trial findings in the Poinsettia Zone on the GPN Web site, www.gpnmag.com , as well as complete trial coverage in a future issue of GPN.
For more information on the trials, go to www.poinsettiatrial.org , where you can find location information, past trial databases and much more.