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Poinsettias

Don't forget to look out for the Bord Bia Quality Mark when buying Poinsettias this Christmas!

Over many years the poinsettia has become a classic, the perfect choice for decorating your home or as a thoughtful gift. It is now hard to imagine the Christmas season without poinsettias.

Growing Poinsettias

The poinsettia is a very difficult plant to grow successfully and is extremely specialised, requiring a skilful grower, scientific knowledge, special conditions and constant monitoring.

The growing season begins for Irish producers in between the end of June and mid-July, when the plugs (young plants) are potted up in commercial glasshouses, which are state of the art in terms of heat, light and humidity control. The plants are monitored continuously - and fed, watered and pinched out to ensure good even growth, colour and health - a process which is highly labour intensive.

Spacing of the plants on the benches is carried out regularly to enable each plant room to expand evenly and gain the sufficient levels of light and airflow.

Working with leading plant breeders all over the world, Irish growers have introduced newer poinsettia varieties which are superior to the original species, with larger, showier flowers and excellent colour.

95% of the crop produced in Ireland is red, which is the most popular colour, with pinks and creams available too.

Careful handling at all stages of the process is essential to ensure the product reaches the shops in tip top condition, including packaging in specially designed sleeves, which are designed not only to make the plant an attractive gift but also to protect it from draughts. The plants are boxed carefully before being despatched to garden centres, shops and supermarkets all over the country.

Demand for poinsettias has been very good this year, with the increasing popularity of these superior poinsettias as a Christmas staple leading to a farm gate value of circa €2.1 million

Delivery to shops is well under way, with final deliveries taking place during the week before Christmas. Then it’s a short break for the 125 or so people employed to carefully nurture these plants from the bench to dispatch before production on spring bedding steps up a gear.

Poinsettias are fussy about cold and draughts, and so they don’t travel well.  This is one reason why locally sourced plants are a better buy – shorter trip from the nursery to the shop shelf means that this diva will look stunning and perform better than its jet-lagged counterpart.

The Bord Bia Quality Mark takes pride of place on the packaging of Poinsettias grown by four Bord Bia Quality Assured Irish growers, so look out for this assurance that the plant you are buying will give a star performance this Christmas.

 

Tips for a Thriving Poinsettia
  1. Control temperature: Place in an area of constant room temperature of 16 - 22°C. Keep the plant away from radiators, cold windows & draughts.

  2. Hydrate: Like most house plants, too much water is just as bad as too little. A poinsettia will need enough water to keep the potting soil damp but not sodden. 

  3. Light: Place the plant so it is exposed to indirect sunlight during the day.

  4. Don’t Move: Avoid moving the plant from different rooms and temperatures too often.

  5. Choose Local: The shorter travel time from plant nursery to your home will benefit this fragile plant, so look for the Bord Bia Quality Mark to guarantee its provenance.

  6. Aftercare: The plant can be kept after Christmas and its Bract (red leaves) will return the following year with regular care.