Pointy and pretty, no flower quite has the petal power of poinsettias at the holidays. And the selection would be far fewer in Louisiana were it not for the LSU AgCenter.
Although AgCenter horticulturists do not develop new varieties of poinsettias, they evaluate the varieties that come on the market and test them for their suitability to grow here.
“We have lost some of the poinsettia growers in the state as well as across the nation. The poinsettia continues to be a tough market for many growers because of the cost of production and the market price. However, there are still many growers that grow on a smaller scale, producing high quality plant material that will bring them top dollar,” said Jeff Kuehny, LSU AgCenter horticulturist in charge of the poinsettia evaluation program.“The poinsettia market has become one of either large, wholesale growers that market to the big box stores or smaller growers who market to the local nurseries, other smaller retail outlets, or organizations such as nonprofit organizations,” Kuehny said.
Although poinsettias now come in many different colors, patterns and shapes, the traditional red continues to be the most popular color, Kuehny said.Watch a short video on picking the perfect poinsettias.Read “Poinsettia Selection and Care.”
For people who grow poinsettias to sell, the LSU AgCenter has a guidebook of how-to’s. Go to “Poinsettia Production Guidelines for the Gulf South.”The poinsettia's beautiful leaves are not petals. They are called bracts, Kuehny said."Another plant that is becoming popular for Christmas is the cyclamen, which has red, white and pink flowers with deep green leaves," Kuehny said.The LSU AgCenter is one of 10 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research that contributes to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, protecting the environment, and improving the quality of life through its 4-H youth, family and community programs.
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