Media contacts: Dr. John Dole, floriculturist, firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.515.3537, or Dr. Brian Whipker, North Carolina Cooperative Extension floriculturist, email@example.com or 919.515.5374, both of the Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University
EDITORS: Dec. 12, National Poinsettia Day, marks the death of Joel Poinsett (1779-1851), who introduced the plant to the United States while he was the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1825.
Poinsettias Come in Many Colors
While bright red and green are the holiday hues most often associated with poinsettias, consumers don't have to settle for these traditional colors.
The plants are high-value items: $18 million in wholesale sales by North Carolina producers, who moved more than 6 million potted poinsettias in 2005, second only to California.
Many breeding companies produce new cultivars each year and producers can find the task of choosing which cultivars to grow daunting, says Dr. John Dole, floriculturist in North Carolina State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
This year, as they have for the past several, producers from around the country got a little help from N.C. State University and the local voting public.
On Dec. 3, about 200 visitors to the JC Raulston Arboretum at the free N.C. State-coordinated annual Poinsettia Open House evaluated more than 100 new cultivars and compared them with those already on the market. They voted on their favorites, providing both breeders and growers with the consumers' perspective and helping to direct breeding programs.
This year, their top three cultivar choices included:
The voting is a part of the National Poinsettia Trial program, which includes Purdue University and the University of Florida. This program includes the independent Homewood Nursery and Garden Center of Raleigh, which provides a retailer's perspective, says Dr. Brian Whipker, North Carolina Cooperative Extension floriculturist in N.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
- Art Latham, firstname.lastname@example.org , or 919.513.3117 -
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