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Poinsettias- the long journey begins

One of our largest crops throughout the year is the poinsettia crop.  Poinsettias originate from the Mexico and Guatemala regions.  We receive our cuttings in July and transplant them into the pots- which they will remain until fully grown.  This year we will grow 4 sizes.  We categorize them into pot sizes, but the actual plant will be much larger.     We start all of our poinsettias in our Ariss location.  The pots travel down the conveyor, fill with soil, the cutting is planted and transported to a water tunnel that mists them.  Next step is to transport them to the greenhouse where they will spend the next 2 months growing.  The first 2 weeks are critical for growth.  They like to be misted every few hours.  They will ensure the leaves (bracts) stay moist and the roots remain cool in the hot summer temperatures.  We have upgraded our greenhouses with "booms" that travel overhead of the plants releasing a light mist.  As the plants grow larger, they need to be given space to expand wider.  This will ensure they do not get tall and leggy and form a beautiful, full shape that is appealing to customers.  We pinch every single one of our cuttings to help produce more breaks and branches.  This is done by hand to ensure it's done properly.  We have well over 100,000 cuttings!  It's a big job!   Poinsettias are greatly controlled by temperature, they require no less than 60 degree nights and no more than 72 degree days.  This can be tricky during the long summer days, so a shade cloth is pulled overhead in the greenhouses,  side walls and roofs are controlled by computer.  Also, furnaces are turned on overnight to maintain the temperature required.  Our growers Paul and Mike have done their studying on this!  While it is said to be one of the "toughest" crops to grow, poinsettias are actually easy to grow- but it's the constant decision making that can take its toll!  We can also control growth by chemicals (not harmful to humans or animals)  these help to regulate size and keep pests away.   Next, the fall weather is perfect to help bring the bracts into colour.  Poinsettias do best with natural light and uninterrupted darkness.  We start to see some colour by mid October!  Next up I can give you some tips to help keep your poinsettias strong, vibrant and beautiful in your home until Christmas and beyond!

 

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Sheila Holm
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April 24, 2017
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