Federal data analyzed by LawnStarter indicates that among the top 15 states for grower-sold poinsettias, South Carolina has seen a more than 80 percent drop in production from 2010 to 2014. That’s the biggest decline for any of the top 15, and South Carolina isn’t alone. According to USDA data, some of the other top-producing poinsettia states experienced a dip in production, as well.
Industry experts point to small growers moving toward growing more profitable and less risky crops as a contributing factor to the decline in poinsettia production in South Carolina and elsewhere around the country. Additionally, they cite small growers closing up shop due to industry consolidation driven by big box retailers as a second influence.
In terms of the annual wholesale value of poinsettias, South Carolina experienced a 49% drop from 2010 to 2014, according to USDA data, the largest decrease among the top 15 producing states, which overall experienced a 3.7% dip in value.
Nora Catlin, a Floriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, NY, says a decrease in consumers’ purchases of plants is one of the reasons for the poinsettia’s plight in New York and elsewhere.
In New York, where wholesale production of poinsettias dropped more than 18 percent from 2010 to 2014, Catlin notes that the state’s number of poinsettia operations with annual sales exceeding $100,000 declined from 68 in 2010 to 51 in 2014. As the costs of poinsettia production have risen over the past 10 to 15 years and profit margins have become slimmer, some growers have turned to other crops, Catlin says.
“I think to some degree there has been an unfortunate acceptance that the poinsettia might not ever gain back its sales and price numbers, though we all hope it does,” Catlin says. “There are so many gorgeous poinsettias available.”