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Poinsettias: 75,000 plants growing at Van Wingerden Greenhouse

Dec 3rd, 2014 | Category: Growing

by Kate Ferry

Poinsettias are a hallmark of the holiday season with the vivid red petals and dark green leaves framing the flowers. They are a traditional gift and beautiful decoration through December and into the new year.  Van Wingerden Greenhouse in Blaine has been growing this seasonal plant in abundance for almost 20 years and this winter is no exception.

Daniel Cruz, shipping manager of Van Wingerden Greenhouse, has been with the nursery for 14 years and is a local authority on poinsettias.  Van Wingerden has over 10 acres of greenhouses and dedicates half of the area to poinsettias from mid-summer through December.

“We are currently growing 75,000 plants this season and are distributing them as far as Coastal Farm & Ranch in Oregon and are the exclusive supplier for Molbeks nurseries in the Seattle area,” Cruz said.

Most poinsettias in local Whatcom County retail establishments were also grown at the nursery.  Van Wingerden has been growing poinsettias at this high volume for over a decade and consistently grows up to 100,000 plants depending on supplier demand and current contracts.

Van Wingerden is growing 21 varieties of poinsettias this year. Colors include creamy white to the classic scarlet red, deep purple to pink, and ruby petals speckled with white. Daniel Cruz, shipping manager of Van Wingerden Greenhouse, shows a pink variety that is priving to be very popular this season. PHOTO BY KATE FERRY

Van Wingerden is growing 21 varieties of poinsettias this year. Colors include creamy white to the classic scarlet red, deep purple to pink, and ruby petals speckled with white. Daniel Cruz, shipping manager of Van Wingerden Greenhouse, shows a pink variety that is priving to be very popular this season. PHOTO BY KATE FERRY

Poinsettias are a plant native to Mexico and grow in abundance south of the border.

“My father, who grew up in Mexico, always remarks at the strangeness of how much we [Americans] love the poinsettia when it grows along the curb and everywhere at home,” Cruz said.

The Christmas tradition of the poinsettia dates to 16th century Mexico. Folklore says that a poor young girl who could not afford to bring a gift to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus, brought a “weed” from the side of the road and the green leafed plant bloomed into a gorgeous red poinsettia. As the years progressed, the symbolism of the poinsettia deepened and the popularity of the plant increased during December.

With its roots in Mexico, it is no surprise that the poinsettia favors warm growing conditions and does best with a constant temperature of at least 60 degrees. To ensure its continued success after bringing the plant home, avoid over-watering and do so only two to three times per week. It must be kept at a comfortable and consistent inside temperature. The plant will thrive in the middle of a room where temperatures do not fluctuate, but will struggle if placed near a window that becomes chilled at night.

Van Wingerden is growing 21 varieties of poinsettias this year. The colors range from the creamy white to the classic scarlet red, deep purple to vibrant magenta and everything in between. There are also cotton candy pink plants and brilliant ruby petals speckled with white. Even the petal shape is unique to each plant with a resemblance to the traditional holiday red.

“I’ve seen trends change in my 14 years here. We used to sell a lot of Carousel Red, but now we can’t grow enough of the Lov U Pink variety,” Cruz said.

This year’s popular variety is marked by petite rosy pink petals and emerald green leaves and is flying off the shelves faster than Van Wingerden can supply Molbeks.

Poinsettias grown by Van Wingerden are available at local retailers around the county or in the greenhouse’s retail shop at 8210 Portal Way in Blaine. The retail shop receives about 15 percent of the wholesale overflow and has all 21 varieties available. You can purchase Van Wingerden poinsettias in sizes ranging from the small 4-inch pot to a showstopping 10-inch display. If you are interested in supporting a local non-profit or raising funds for your own group, Van Wingerden also offers different fundraising opportunities through wholesale pricing on bulk poinsettia orders.

For more information about Van Wingerden Grenhouse, see http://vwhomeandgarden.com or call (360) 366-3906. The retail store is located at 8210 Portal Way in Blaine.

Published in the December 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

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