Low prices lash UK poinsettias

Many firms are growing poinsettia mainly to keep skilled staff and plug seasonal production gap.

The UK poinsettia market is continuing to suffer from low prices fixed by large retailers, growers have warned.

Growers attending last week's Poinsettia Group meeting said growing the plants was less about making money than filling a gap in production at this time of year to maintain relationships with customers and retain skilled staff.

Bordon Hill Nurseries grows 400,000 poinsettias a year. Company representative Pete Barratt said three-litre pot production has increased by 15 per cent this year, and 13cm pots have also risen slightly, but said prices had to go up.

"We surveyed consumers about how much they would pay, and the responses went up to £8 for a 13cm pot," he said. "The industry in the UK is shrinking because of lower prices at the big retailers."

He said growing the plants was more about turning over the work to keep skilled staff needed for the spring.

Roundstone Nurseries has upped poinsettia production to 200,000 this year. Technical director Chris Need said. "We now have more suitable glass in which to grow them and there is of course demand for them."

"We wouldn't do it if it didn't make us money, but we are using facilities we already have and it is good for building customer relationships because we can work with them the whole year round.

"The reasons for growing them are more than purely financial. You wouldn't build a nursery for poinsettias, but if you have the facilities, it makes sense," Need added.

Peter Eastwood Plants owner Peter Eastwood said: "There is a supermarket price and a garden centre price. A supermarket might sell huge numbers of them for £2.50. If they lose £2 on each one but the people going in for them are spending £100 each, they are happy with that."

Beekenkamp UK sales representative Sirekit Mol added that poinsettias from the Netherlands were never as strong as those grown in the UK. "You can't beat British-grown plants," she said.

"I hope retailers will recognise that and put up prices. Prices are low and it's a real problem. Poinsettias require so much labour."

Future varieties Targeting lower cost and longer life

Breeders should focus on producing colder-finishing, lower-maintenance poinsettias, growers have said.

Growers discussed the important features of potential varieties at last week's Poinsettia Group meeting, with many growers interested in early varieties that can be grown at lower temperatures, saving energy costs. Large bracts, high disease resistance and low maintenance were also desirable qualities, the growers said.

Dummen chief business development officer Perry Wisemans said poinsettias could grow at 12 degsC, but high humidity was a challenge in the UK.

"Heating lowers humidity, so with a colder finish you have to control that," he explained. "The colder the finish, the less control you have, but the more control you have, the easier it is to have uniformity."

He added: "However, colder varieties do last longer in the home."

Bordon Hill Nurseries started growing cooler varieties last year to reduce energy costs.

Roundstone Nurseries technical manager Chris Need said: "A cold finish results in much better shelf-life for the consumer. We don't spend a huge amount on heating. If it gets really cold there's a problem, but last year was quite conducive to poinsettia production."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

Walls, trellises, pergolas and even trees can all be brightened up by these beautiful blooms, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles