The National Poinsettia Trials, sponsored by the poinsettia breeders, were established to provide an independent evaluation of the many new cultivars being introduced. There are too many new cultivars for growers to adequately evaluate them all. Unlike many spring crops or bedding plants, individual poinsettia varieties require different handling in production. Also, environmental factors affect how the different individual cultivars perform. There are many individual preferences for how to produce poinsettia, and there is no “one best way” to grow them. At the same time, one cannot truly judge a poinsettia until it has been in production for 2-3 years.
We hope these trials help growers focus on which cultivars might have the best fit in their operation based on their markets and production styles. Along with the university sites — North Carolina State, Purdue and University of Florida — the trial is also conducted by Joe Stoffregen at Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C. These trials would not be possible without the cooperation and support of the following poinsettia breeder companies: Dummen USA, Paul Ecke Ranch, Fischer USA, Olgevee Ltd. and Selecta First Class. The trials would also not be possible without our dedicated staff, including lead technical staffers Ingram McCall at North Carolina State University, Terri Kirk at Purdue University and Erika Berghauer at the University of Florida.
This report has been split up into three sections: recommended cultivars, page 22; new introductions, page 26; and the best of the best from the trials, page 30. This is the most complete coverage of last year’s poinsettia trials you’ll find anywhere, so make the most of it by using these reports to choose the right varieties for your production situation and market. Poinsettia trial coverage continues next month with the consumer preference surveys.
By Allen Hammer, Purdue University; Jim Barrett, University of Florida; and John Dole, North Carolina State University