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Pushing Poinsettias

Ten tips for increasing sales of Americans’ favorite holiday plant.
 

 

1. customize containers
Market your poinsettia plants by developing a themed look to make a simple holiday product more desirable. All the plants could be displayed in elegant brass containers or rustic twig baskets. Spray terra-cotta pots gold, and add moss. Wrap plants in burlap for a country Christmas look.

2. vary price points
Be sure to include a wide variety of price points. Miniature poinsettia plants are perfect items for single sales and multiple groupings while the larger specimens are popular with business firms and churches.

3. offer preseason specials
Guaranteeing that the plants will stay beautiful from just after Thanksgiving until Christmas has proved successful for florists who have offered preseason specials. Evening television news spots featuring poinsettias also are an effective marketing tool.

4. provide care instructions
Customers appreciate detailed care and reflowering instructions. Design a simple handout that can be photocopied for customers to take home with them. (Use the examples at the end of this article.) Be sure to include the shop name. And be sure all employees are fully briefed and ready to answer customers’ questions about care and reflowering.

5. offer group discounts
Many florists offer discounts to churches and hospitals for quantity purchases of poinsettias. Expand on that idea by offering discounts to large businesses and local civic clubs and organizations. Try targeting a direct-mail or e-mail advertising campaign toward specific community groups.
 

 

6. have special discounts
Some florists market a “Decorating Discount” based on volume. They have a multiple-sale scale that they offer to businesses: The more plants a business buys, the larger discount it receives. The firms use the poinsettias as office decorations and then give them to employees as gifts when they leave for the holidays. Direct-mail and e-mail promotions can be used to market the program.

7. mass plants for impact
Massed poinsettias deliver great visual impact. Fill your window with plants, and spotlight them. Leave the lights on at night, if feasible. Group plants in the store by color. Pink and white plants would complement a Victorian vignette; use brilliant red plants in an area decorated with tartan plaid.

8. deliver festivity
Have Santa deliver the plants! Even just having Santa hats for your delivery drivers would be a step in the right direction.

9. custom wrap
Wrap your poinsettia plants with wide selection of quality wraps and ribbon. Let customers select their favorite holiday wraps like at department-store gift-wrap counters.

10. combine plants
Arrange several varieties of plants together. Look for unusual combinations that go beyond the traditional to offer your customers several options. One suggestion might be a full-size red topiary tree with a cluster of white miniature poinsettias and holly plants at the base.



POINSETTIA CARE Tips

LIGHT
Poinsettias require at least six hours of bright indirect (diffused) sunlight every day.

WATER
These plants require moderately moist soil at all times. Water them thoroughly, saturating the soil completely, when the soil surface is dry to the touch, then allow them to drain; do not allow pots to sit in water. Water plants immediately if leaves/bracts begin to wilt.

TEMPERATURE
Average room temperatures (60 F to 70 F) are required—65 F to 70 F during the daytime and 60 F to 65 F at night. Cool conditions prolong bloom time. Never expose plants to temperatures above 70 F or below 50 F for extended periods.

HUMIDITY
Poinsettias thrive in humid air, so in dry interior environments, place pots on a pebble tray or mist leaves frequently. Keep plants away from drafts and the heat and dry air emitted by appliances, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

FERTILIZER
Plant food is not necessary while poinsettias are in bloom, but plants purchased early in the season can benefit from a high-phosphorous fertilizer applied every two weeks.


getting poinsettias to rebloom

Getting poinsettias to rebloom can be a challenge and is a bit of a process, but it can be done. Here are the steps to follow.

Late March or early April
Cut plants back to about 8 inches in height. Continue regular watering, and fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer. By the end of May, you should see vigorous new growth.

after all chance of frost has passed
Place plants outdoors when night temperatures will no longer drop below 55 F. Continue regular watering, and fertilize every two to three weeks.

Around June 1
You may transplant plants into larger pots—no more than 4 inches larger (in diameter) than the original pots. A soil mix with organic matter, such as peat moss or leaf mold, is recommended. In milder climates, you may transplant plants into a well-prepared garden bed that is rich in organic material and has good drainage.

Late June, July or August
Pruning may be required during the summer to keep plants bushy and compact. Pruning must be done prior to Sept. 1. Keep plants in indirect sun, and water regularly.

October, November and December
For eight to 10 weeks, starting Oct. 1, plants must be kept in complete darkness for 14 continuous hours each day/night, followed by six to eight hours of bright sunlight daily. To achieve the required darkness, move the plants to a totally dark room, or cover them with large boxes. Plants also require nighttime temperatures between 60 F and 70 F.

Important: Stray light of any kind and/or temperatures below 60 F or above 70 F can delay or entirely halt the reflowering process.

Continue watering and fertilizing regularly. Carefully following this routine should result in a colorful display of blooms for the holiday season.
 


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PO Box 4368
Topeka, KS   66604

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