Unusual forms, cut varieties, year-round offerings and painting
techniques upgrade the traditional holiday poinsettia, raising the
potential for increased profit margin.
by Monica Humbard
Over the years, the profit margin on traditional holiday potted
poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) has dropped significantly. But
enhancements and advancements in the plant itself, as well as new
decorative applications, have given these holiday bloomers new life.
Consumers have shown their willingness to pay more for poinsettias that
are new and unusual. Here are some ideas for upgrading your poinsettia
In Japan and Korea, Euphorbia 'Dulce Rosa' already has
experienced acceptance as a year-round potted plant and is being
produced and sold in significant quantities. In the United
States, its visibility in the spring and early fall market is
expected to increase during the next few years. Spring choices
will include pastel-colored bracts, and the more intense fall
color range will feature orange, red, purple and yellow.
Photo: Paul Ecke Ranch
Miniature poinsettia tree
This 12-inch-tall 'Winter Rose' poinsettia tree is targeted to
the corporate market, but it also has many home-decor
applications and gift appeal. Display these plants at eye level
so consumers can appreciate their unusual form and size.
Photo: Peace Tree Farm
The poinsettia column has a large single bract at the top of the
plant, which drapes onto green foliage. Farther down the stem is
a circle of smaller bracts. The plant has little spread (about
12 to 14 inches) and is grown in an 8-inch clay pot.
Photo: Peace Tree Farm
Jack Williams, international products manager at Paul Ecke
Ranch, in Encinitas, Calif., says 2006 was the biggest year yet
for cut flower poinsettias. He believes this is primarily
because of the success of the cut 'Winter Rose Renaissance'
poinsettia, which has fewer care and handling concerns as a cut
flower as compared to other varieties.
'winter rose renaissance’
Photo: Paul Ecke Ranch
poinsettia series, well received by U.S. consumers as a potted
plant, is now finding applications as a cut flower, too. Its
long-lasting characteristics are similar to the 'Winter Rose
Photo: Paul Ecke Ranch
Until recently, Euphorbia fulgens, commonly known as "scarlet
plume" and a close relative of the poinsettia (E. pulcherrima),
was bred only as a cut flower. Paul Ecke Ranch, in Encinitas,
Calif., now has it in controlled grower trials in Europe and
with its breeder in North America as a potted plant. Ecke hopes
to have some of the first commercial trials in the market in
2008. Euphorbia fulgens is available in a variety of vibrant
colors including red, white, pink, yellow and orange.
Photo: Flower Council of Holland
Whether you paint the poinsettias yourself or invite your customers to
join in the fun, several products on the market today make it easy to
match any decor or desire.
Fantasy Colors, a line of 10 spray dyes from Fred C. Gloeckner & Co.
Inc., in Harrison, N.Y., make it easy to customize poinsettias to match
a particular home or office decor, pot covers or add-ons. The products,
which can be applied at the grower or store levels, work best on white,
cream, apricot, light pink and marble poinsettias. Red and pink
poinsettias will work with the more intense dark colors. You can follow
up all the colors with an application of Gloeckner Clear Glue and
glitter to add a bit of sparkle.
Just for Flowers, Colortool(r) and ColorTex sprays from Design Master
Color Tool, Inc., in Boulder, Colo., compose the company's Graffiti
PetalArt Color Collection. Just for Flowers sprays are translucent
colorants that allow the details of poinsettias' bracts to show through
while giving them a rich, satin color sheen. Colortool sprays are opaque
colorants that hide blemishes and create a uniform appearance. ColorTex
adds color and texture in one step. Design Master also offers
flower-safe embellishments for natural or colorized poinsettias,
including Glitter Spray, Shimmer sprays (Gold and Pearly Dew), and even
Floral Fragrance sprays that add scent to the plants.
Find out how to create the dazzling looks shown here by mousing
Marketing tips: painted poinsettias
When painted with spray colorants, poinsettias can make an earlier
appearance in fall displays.
Painted poinsettias are expanding the selling time of the plant as well
as its appeal to a younger audience. Andrew Lee, vice president of sales
and marketing with Fred C. Gloeckner & Co. Inc., in Harrison, N.Y., says
they also give florists an opportunity to raise the price point of
poinsettias to "a much-needed" higher level. Mr. Lee says consumers have
shown their willingness to pay more for the painted poinsettias. In
fact, in some parts of the country, if they take the time to color them
well, retailers are getting as much as double the price of the
Here are Mr. Lee's suggestions for effectively marketing painted
1 Nontraditional Holidays: Target nontraditional poinsettia
holidays/events such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the new year
and birthdays. Some retailers are painting poinsettias to coordinate
with the colors of fall mums so they can sell them as early as
2 Customization: Offer to customize poinsettias to customers'
tastes and needs. Businesses, churches and even some individuals will
have different holiday themes each year. By customizing painted
poinsettias for them each year, you can build a returning clientele.
3 Family Events: Plan an event for families so they can dye their
own plants. Display examples, and have different sizes of poinsettias in
neutral colors for decorating. Have staff available to assist customers.
4 Meeting Activity: Offer to work with civic groups, clubs,
sports teams or other organizations to plan special events where their
members can learn to create their own painted poinsettias.
5 Fund-raisers: Suggest that groups such as Boy Scouts, sports
teams or churches purchase the painted poinsettias and sell them as a
fund-raiser. Teams can sell poinsettias painted in their team colors and
add a pick with the team name. A women's organization could sell pink
poinsettias with glitter for a breast cancer fund-raiser.
6 Social Events: Recommend painted poinsettias as a project for a
"Girls Night Out" group or an annual holiday luncheon. If you have
meeting space available, offer to host the event and provide the snacks,
or send a representative with all the necessary materials to the home of
the hostess to demonstrate the application methods and help them
re-create the techniques.
7 Giveaways: Build interest in painted poinsettias by giving away
free plants in a drawing or with the purchase of a certain amount of
product from the floral department.
8 Publicity: Alert the media to this unique and interesting new
product. Invite them to your holiday open house.
Monica Humbard is a freelance writer residing in Lee's Summit, Mo. You
may contact her by e-mail at
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