The 2017 poinsettia season was strong in some areas and soft in others, but on average most growers and grower retailers agreed that the season was one of the best in recent years, according to responses to Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry Poinsettia Survey.
“This was a knockout year for us as far as selling through retail. Everyone was selling out quickly,” said Craig Roth of Sunshine Growers, a wholesale grower in the Southeast.
It was a banner year in the Northwest, as well, according to wholesale grower Phil DeGoede of DeGoede Brothers.
“Crop quality was top five in our history. The market was brisk with no disruptive weather events,” he said. “Customer sell-through was good, but I don’t expect increases from the same stores.”
Thanks to mild weather and early traffic, many growers said they sold out quickly.
“This year’s market seemed earlier than usual,” said Kyle Peterson of Fessler Nursery, a grower-retailer in the Northwest. “We market predominantly to fundraisers and normally don’t sell much until the first week of December. This year, we had substantial sales even before Thanksgiving.”
Poinsettias Too Cost- and Labor-Intensive to Be so Precarious
Despite a better year in 2017, the market remains smaller than it used to be, and needs to be revived, growers said.
“We were able to sell the entire crop, but our number of pots has decreased close to 50% over the last 15 years,” said Tom Bebout of Bebout Farm, a wholesale grower in the Northeast.
Grower-retailer Chris Moore of Moore’s Greenhouse in the Northeast said, “It was a better season for us than in previous years, but there is always room for adjustments, as well as opportunities to offer other plants, such as cyclamen and succulents.”
The industry needs to work together to improve the over-supply, pricing, and demand issues plaguing poinsettia growers, most agreed. We can start with educating consumers that poinsettias aren’t toxic.
“[We need] more push on 1) that poinsettias are kid and pet friendly — we still fight this myth; and more push on 2) that poinsettias make great gifts,” said Abe VanWingerden of Metrolina Greenhouses, a wholesale grower in the Southeast.
Karl Auwaerter of grower-retailer Bayport Flower House in the Northeast said he thinks novelties like Princettia are the answer for repositioning poinsettias. The Clear White variety sold out at the company’s open house in four hours, he said.
“I think that [we need to make] the poinsettia a hip, urban-chic plant through marketing,” Auwaerter said.
Taking our marketing cues from large, mainstream retailers to create better demand is necessary to keep poinsettias and all plants and flowers relevant, according to Midwest grower-retailer Heidi Tietz De Silva of Petersen & Tietz Florists and Greenhouses.
“The entire floral industry needs to band together to communicate that plants and flowers are good for your health, both mental and physical. That is trendy and very European. Starbucks convinced people they deserve a good cup of coffee, right? And now it’s trendy. This applies to all plants and fresh flowers, not just poinsettias. It needs to be an industry mindset. Our competition is other decorations like blow-up Santas and gifts like candy.”
Ideas That Resonated With Gen Xers and Millennials*
- Small poinsettia tree in 8-inch pot
- Painted orange spice poinsettia for Thanksgiving, and Blue and Pink painted poinsettias
- Added novelty colors like ‘Venus Hot Pink,’ ‘J’Adore Hot Pink,’ ‘Green Envy,’ ‘Gold Rush,’ ‘Luv U Pink,’ and the Princettia Series
- Poinsettia and succulent combos
- More houseplant/foliage combinations with poinsettias for “re-purposing”
- More mixed color combinations like Red and White, and tricolor combos
- Set up picture taking vignettes for customers to take photos with, including a “selfie” frame with poinsettias as a backdrop
- Burlap drop-ins, more color bowls, better packaging and presentation
*Based on answers from Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 Poinsettia Survey