Christmas may be over and so is the retail market window for growers to sell poinsettias.
The traditional red and green plant, first introduced to the U.S. in 1825 from Mexico, only has a retail market until Christmas Day.
That’s why Christmas is a business at Fessler Nursery in Woodburn, Oregon. Before Christmas, more than 25,000 poinsettias had to go. The poinsettias in this greenhouse are sold for fundraisers.
“It’s real hectic, making sure things are watered properly, ready to go in a truck and ready to get shipped all day in a truck,” said Paige Kuchy, head grower for Fessler Nursery.
Before Christmas was the busiest time of the year for shipping at the nursery, which produced more than 20 varieties. There’s only 6 months to grow the perfect poinsettia with one target date in mind.
“It peaks generally after Thanksgiving,” said Don Spence, general manager at Fessler Nursery. “Then, you can’t sell on after December 25.”
That’s where growers Don Spence and Paige Kuchy come in too. They evaluate and make sure the flower with an expiration date is healthy, especially since this “Christmas crop” is a major money maker.
“With a lot of greenhouse operations, it will be the only crop that is generating any type of revenue for November and December,” said Spence.
As the sea of red turns into gaps at the greenhouse, it’s a welcome sign.
“Christmas does start early,” said Spence. “[When it comes to the growing season], we have six months of Christmas here!”
Soon enough, the market, the inventory and the planning of next Christmas will start once again.