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 should
I grow.” The answer to that question is complex, and eventually, only the
individual grower can make that decision. Some cultivars are relatively easy to
grow and may be better for larger production operations. Other cultivars may be
more difficult to produce but have strong desirable traits in the retail
market. Therefore, they are better for growers who can pay individual attention
to each cultivar’s particular characteristics. Other important factors
for many growers are timing and handling. Some growers need later-finishing
cultivars for a later market and others do not. Some growers like cultivars
that 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 other
locations in the United States and Canada each year. The information from these
trials is compiled to produce these articles. We are putting emphasis on the
newest cultivars, and detailed descriptions are included here. In accompanying
pieces, we have provided a list of recommended cultivars for different
climates, page 10, and our selections of the best cultivars from this
fall’s trial, page 24. Next month, we will provide the results of consumer
surveys conducted at the University of Florida and Purdue University. We also
direct readers to our Web site, www.poinsettiatrial.org , where additional and
more detailed trial information on all of the cultivars can be found.
‘1-99’ (previously labeled Thanksgiving Red
in some trials). 1-99 is an
early-flowering plant for upscale markets. Bracts are large, smooth and held
up. Branch strength is good, but it is more susceptible to Botrytis and Bract
Edge Burn than most other dark-leaf cultivars. Growth habit and appearance are
similar to ‘Red Velvet’. At the time of this writing, the cultivar
had not been given a name. — Ecke.
‘Christmas Dream’. Christmas Dream has the potential to be a good cultivar, and we need
to see it in wider production. It finishes early and has an average amount of
vigor. The large, dark red bracts are held up above the foliage, giving the
appearance of a nice uniform plant.
(Not pictured.) — Selecta Klemm.
‘Eternity Red’ (previously labeled Rebel Red
in some trials). Eternity made our Best of
the Trials list. It is important because it offers a nice bract presentation in
a slightly vigorous, early cultivar. It should make a nice upscale plant.
Gala Red is a good, new dark-leaf cultivar with considerable promise. It
finishes early and has a compact growth habit. The bracts are bright red and
are held up above the foliage. This gives it a slightly different appearance
than most other early cultivars, and consumers gave it one of the higher rankings
among red cultivars. We need to learn more about this cultivar. (Not pictured.)
‘Premium Red’. The general appearance of Premium is similar to ‘Freedom
Red’ in terms of its bract color and shape and its dark green
leaves. However, Premium is less
vigorous than Freedom, as can be seen in the data from the three trial sites.
‘Red Diamond’. Red Diamond is important because it adds a good dark-leaf cultivar to
the 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 growth
regulator because of the late finish time. — Fischer.
‘Redberry Punch’. Along with ‘Champagne Punch’, ‘Snowberry
Punch’ and ‘Strawberry Punch’, Redberry Punch is new to
complement ‘Cranberry Punch’. Redberry is slightly less vigorous
than Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good upright branches and greater than
average vigor. They have excellent postharvest performance. Redberry probably
has the best color. — Ecke.
‘Winterfest Red’. Along with Winterfest Pink, also new this year, Winterfest Red is a
new dark-leaf cultivar. It performs much better in cooler climates than in warm
climates. In cool climates, it has medium vigor and timing is midseason. In
warm climates, it is more vigorous and finishes later. — Oglevee.
‘Champagne Punch’. Along with Snowberry Punch, Redberry Punch and Strawberry Punch,
Champagne is new to complement Cranberry Punch. The growth habit, appearance
and timing generally fit with Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good
upright branches and
greater-than-average vigor. They have excellent postharvest performance.
‘Festival White’. Along with ‘Festival Pink’, Festival White adds color that
has been needed to complement ‘Festival Red’. Its growth habit and
timing are similar to Festival Red, and like most dark-green leaf cultivars, it
does 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, appearance
and timing generally fit with Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good upright
branches and greater-than-average vigor. They have excellent postharvest
performance. — Ecke.
‘Freedom Coral’. The Freedom family has two groups of cultivars: those like Freedom Red
and those like ‘Bright Red Freedom’. Bright Red is less vigorous
and has smaller leaves and bracts than Freedom Red. Additionally, the bracts
are 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 Bright
Red Freedom. It will be most useful in specialty markets where designer colors
are desired. — Ecke.
‘Festival Pink’. Along with Festival White, Festival Pink adds color that has been
needed to complement Festival Red. Its growth habit and timing are similar to
Festival Red, and like most dark-green leaf cultivars, it does not have strong
bract color. — Oglevee.
‘Freedom Bright Pink’.
style='font-weight:normal'> The Freedom family has two groups of cultivars:
those like Freedom Red and those like Bright Red Freedom. Bright Red is less
vigorous and has smaller leaves and bracts than Freedom Red. Additionally, the
bracts are held up on Bright Red and it finishes a little later than Freedom
Red. Bright Pink is new in the Freedom family and is similar to Bright Red. It
will be useful in markets where designer colors are needed. (Not Pictured.)
‘Malibu Pink’. This is an improved pink that fits the Malibu series well. —
‘Strawberry Punch’. Along with Champagne Punch, Snowberry Punch and Redberry Punch,
Strawberry is new to complement Cranberry Punch. The growth habit, appearance
and timing generally fit with Cranberry. The punch cultivars have good, upright
branches and greater than average vigor. They have excellent postharvest
performance. — Ecke.
‘Winterfest Pink’. Along with Winterfest Red, Winterfest Pink is a new dark-green leaf
cultivar in the Winterfest family. It performs much better in cooler climates
than in warm climates. In cool climates, it has medium vigor and timing is
midseason. In warm climates, it is more vigorous and finishes later. —
Jingle Bells Cultivars
‘Sonora White Glitter’.
style='font-weight:normal'>This is an important addition to the jingle bell
types and is on our Best of the Trials list. It has very strong appeal with
consumers. This is a Sonora and has Sonora characteristics. It will finish in
late midseason. Also, it will have a tendency for the bracts to expand down into
the leaves. So, for upscale markets, the appearance will be improved by pulling
the bracts up to the top (fluffing). — Fischer. Á
Novelty Red Cultivars
This is a novelty red that made our Best of the Trials list, where there is a
detailed description. It should become an important cultivar and has potential
for both chain store and independent retail markets. At the time of this
writing, the cultivar had not been given a name. (Not pictured.) — Ecke.
style='font-weight:normal'> Fireworks is similar to Freedom Red, but the bract
color is slightly brighter than Freedom Red. Fireworks’ distinguishing
characteristic is the narrow, pointed bracts that are supposed to resemble
flames of fire. Fireworks made our Best of the Trials list because it adds
diversity to the early red cultivars. — Ecke.
‘Jester Red’. The unique Jester series now has a Red to go with ‘Jester
Jingle’. The plants are very upright with a fewer-than-average number of
laterals. The bracts are long and pointed and are held slightly upright, which
makes the plant resemble a jester’s hat. It can be produced in many
different formats and would best be used as a novelty. Timing is early, and it
has medium vigor. — Ecke.
‘Avant Garde’ (previously labeled J-57 in
some trials). This is a novelty, marble
type that has similar appearance to ‘Strawberries ‘N Cream’.
The appearance of these two cultivars is so different from other poinsettias
that it is interesting two of them are being introduced in the same year. Avant
Garde 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. It
is on our Best of the Trials list, where there is a discussion of it. It is
important to recognize the characteristics of this cultivar to be successful
with it. — Fischer.
Da Vinci should allow growers to go back to producing peppermint-type
poinsettias for the early market. It finishes a little ahead of Freedom Red and
is slightly less vigorous. Consumers rated Da Vinci higher than the other early
peppermint types, and it is on our Best of the Trials list. Not pictured
‘Strawberries ‘N Cream’.
style='font-weight:normal'> As noted above, Strawberries ‘N Cream and
Avant Garde have the same general appearance. Strawberries ‘N Cream has
very low vigor and should be used in smaller formats. Strawberries ‘N
Cream made our Best of the Trials list because of the high consumer ratings. It
will be a good novelty plant. (Pictured on page 16.) — Ecke.
‘Winter Rose Deep Pink’
style='font-weight:normal'>. This is the newest addition to the important
Winter Rose family. The growth habit of Deep Pink is similar to Dark Red, and
they 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 applied
early in the crop. — Ecke.
Author’s Note: These trials would not be possible
without support from the breeders, our technicians, our universities and the
poinsettia growers. Special thanks: Dummen USA, Fischer USA, Selecta Klemm
Horticultural Marketing Associates, Oglevee Ltd. and Paul Ecke Ranch. We extend
thanks for technical support to Ingram McCall, North Carolina State University;
Terri Kirk, Purdue University; and Carolyn Bartuska, University of Florida.
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.