Poinsettia market potential highlighted

New uses raise potential for nurseries to benefit from increased poinsettia sales, according to European project manager.

Poinsettia displays - image: HW
Poinsettia displays - image: HW

Poinsettia sales have the potential to grow by two-and-a-half times in the UK, Stars for Europe project manager Dr Susanne Lux has claimed.

She said 0.48 of Germans bought a poinsettia on average against 0.18 of people in the UK. The British market could grow too with promotion from the EU-funded Stars for Europe scheme (www.stars-for-europe.com).

The initiative from European poinsettia breeders and growers Dummen, Syngenta Flowers, PLA (Ecke, Gross, Jacobsen) and Selecta Klemm runs in 16 countries.

Florists and growers presented poinsettia displays at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London last month to show new ways of using the flower.

Growers at the event Hill Brothers sales director Greg Hill, L Mills owner Ian Mills and Woodlark Nurseries managing director Colin Edwards. They agreed that prices are static this year, while demand and customer base is similar to 2011.

Hill, who supplies 500,000 poinsettia to retailers including Sainsbury's and Waitrose, said: "We don't do enough consumer research. It's a good Christmas product but input costs are going up. If prices went lower we would stop doing it. We're lucky our customers are pro-British."

German retail prices for standard poinsettia are lower at around £1.20, which is the UK wholesale price.

Mills, who supplies independent garden centres and florists, said the plant is "at a price point we can't go over".

Supermarkets are continuing to stick to standard reds while garden centres are keener on larger sizes and more varied colours.

Woodlark Nurseries grows for local garden centres, with 25,000 one-litre, 3,000 three-litre and 12,000 10cm pots going out each year for Christmas arrangements. Edwards said he has almost sold out of 25,000-30,000 pot wallflowers this autumn, probably because the outdoor crop suffered in the rain.

Hill said after a difficult year the trade is optimistic for 2013 and price promotions will continue, but mainly on Dutch product.

Garden writer Peter Seabrook warned that Dutch poinsettia are grown in cucumber glasshouses and tend to be softer than the UK-grown crop.

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