Blooming poinsettias

Floral company revives local poinsettia industry

Ashley Thompson
Published on December 7, 2011

Avon Valley Floral is giving growing poinsettias another go.

Avon Valley’s sales and marketing manager, Amy Morrison, says many floral wholesalers and greenhouse companies in the Maritimes have recently shied away from producing poinsettias because of the costs involved with growing the plant, and a shrinking market.

“It’s because of the winter heat. Heating the greenhouse facilities for the winter is costly [and] it is quite a long-term crop.”

Rather than ceasing production of the ruby red and forest green plant paired with Christmas farewell for good, Avon Valley Floral temporarily stopped growing poinsettias for the 2010 season while work was underway to devise a more energy efficient greenhouse environment that would minimize the risks of growing a plant that turns a relatively low profit. 

“Because growers aren’t getting enough money value out of the plants, a lot of them aren’t producing any more.”

“There is less than a handful of people still growing poinsettias in the Maritime region.”

After some infrastructure upgrades, a variety of colourful poinsettias — red, peach, pink and cream — are now blooming in a confined wing of the nine-acre greenhouse facility that lies in a hollow off of Town Road in Falmouth.

“It all revolves around colour. We’re really a fashion industry when it comes down to plants. It’s all driven by the trends that you see in colour.”

Morrison says reinventing the way they do business to meet their clients’ needs is one way the company, founded in 1935, continues to thrive in a challenging industry.

Locally grown poinsettias give the consumer more bang for their buck, Morrison says.

“The life of the plant is compromised when it’s packaged and in a truck in darkness for… days,” she said.

Morrison recommends taking a poinsettia home immediately after it is purchased to place the sensitive plant in an environment wherein the temperature is fairly regulated.

“The biggest things for… consumers to be cautious of is to keep them out of cold, drafty areas, or too much heat. You wouldn’t want them sitting under a fan or next to a cold window,” she said.

“Just leaving the building and going to your vehicle not having it wrapped can cause the plant damage.”

The majority of the crops grown at Avon Valley Floral are sold in the Atlantic Canadian market. One of Avon Valley Floral’s more popular products, cut gerbera daisies, are delivered in a biodegradable packaging indicating which plants were grown locally for interested consumers.

“We see consumers asking for local more and more but right now in this season if someone went out to shop for a poinsettia, they can’t really say ‘Oh this is from Avon Valley,’” Morrison said, noting it is best to ask where the flowers were grown at the checkout.

“I’m working on that.”

Morrison says poinsettias, and plants in general, are often used for community fundraising initiatives and personal pick-me-ups.

“Plants are known to have healing powers so it is a really positive gift to be giving.”