After three hectic weeks, Metrolina Greenhouses is heading towards the end of their poinsettia season. So far, demand has been positive and they see significant increase in sales and store traffic when comparing to last year. This is explained by Mariah Holland, Head of Marketing at this wholesale plant and service company with a location in Huntersville, NC, and York, SC. They are very happy with these positive numbers but even more with the new consumers they have welcomed to the industry in 2020. "We anticipate strong growth in the next few years and are ready to meet consumer demand with added production and new product lines, which lead to new production areas at both locations”.
Metrolina started to plant the poinsettia cuttings the end of June and finished a bit higher with 3.1 million plants filling up 200 acres of space in Huntersville, NC. In just one month, from Mid-November till Mid-December, this huge number of poinsettias are leaving the greenhouse, on their way to wholesalers which are based in the Mid Atlantic region.
Pure white poinsettia increasing in demand
The traditional red poinsettia is still the bestseller; about 90 percent of the greenhouse is filled with this color. However the for a couple of years now, the demand for white - which is 5% of the total- is increasing. "Since we are working with the Princettia white, which has a true white color, we see the demand increasing. Consumers really love it," she says. 4% of the production consists of specialty varieties, and 1% is being painted in vibrant blues and purples."
Painting poinsettias at Metrolina Greenhouses.
Adding value to the poinsettia
The poinsettia is a popular crop to grow and over the years, the supply increased sharply. So, how different is Metrolina Greenhouses, that is mainly selling their products to big box retailers from the other poinsettias on the market? "We try to add value by offering them in different sizes, different packaging and so on. All in all, this is highly valued."
Increasing demand across the board
Not only the demand for poinsettias, but the demand for all types of plants in their assortment - including hardy mums, summer annuals, hanging baskets, bedding plants and perennials - increased over the last year, Holland explains. "We are very thankful that we've had a good year. With people staying home due to the pandemic, the interest in plants in general has grown. And not only the demand among the 'usual' consumers grew, we also welcomed new consumers to the industry."
Expanding production acreage
Metrolina in Huntersville, NC, is said to be the largest single-site, heated greenhouse (over 200 acres) in the U.S. Besides, they also have a second location in York, SC, where they have 175 acres of outdoor growing space. As they expect a growth in demand for the coming years, they are expanding production at both sites. "In Huntersville, we are planning to add 13 acres of greenhouse and we are planning to add 40 acres of outdoor production in York where we will also put up some cold frames as well."