Commercially evaluating a cultivar can take from two to three years and uses bench space that could be devoted to known best sellers. That is where the National Poinsettia Trials come in.
The National Poinsettia Trials are a collaboration of the research and trialing efforts of three universities (University of Florida, North Carolina State University and Purdue University), one commercial site (Homewood Nursery, Raleigh, N.C.) and five commercial breeders (Paul Ecke Ranch, Dümmen, GroLink, Selecta First Class and Syngenta Flowers).
Open houses will take place this Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Homewood Nurseries and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.; Friday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.; and Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
The trials were established to provide an independent evaluation of the newest poinsettia cultivars being introduced. Too many new cultivars are released each year for growers to adequately evaluate them. Individual poinsettia varieties require different production procedures from Southern to Northern United States; these diverse trial locations allow growers in all parts of the country to identify the varieties that work best for them.
The trial sites have all the latest cultivars on the bench and under indoor lighting in some cases, ready for growers to judge. It is a great way to pick those varieties that will work best in the greenhouse during the winter holiday season. In addition, each site will have other poinsettia research projects on displaying, including cold finishing, sustainable trials, PGRs and novel container combinations.
Don’t forget to check out the new Purdue National Poinsettia Trial Webcam to see how the trials are progressing. Click on Virtual Greenhouse Tour and then on Login: https://sharepoint.agriculture.purdue.edu/agriculture/flowers/default.aspx .