To meet the high demand, Colorado State University’s annual poinsettia sale has doubled the number of plants it will have available this season. More than 1,000 of the holiday plants – including 17 different cultivars – will be available for purchase, said Mike Hazlett, a research associate with the CSU Horticulture Center. “Last year, we sold out on day two of the three-day sale,” Hazlett said.
This year’s event will include a Saturday, December 3, in addition to weekday sales on Monday and Tuesday, December 5 and 6. Typically, the sale is held on weekday afternoons and evenings, Hazlett said. Moving it to include a Saturday allows not only for a new audience to participate in the sale but also for the community to interact with the students and learn more about the plants and the program.
The annual event is run by the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. The plants are grown by students in the department’s floriculture — or flower farming — practicum. “The students are really proud of their work, and this is a chance to showcase everything that they’ve done,” Hazlett said.
An opportunity to grow and learn
The floriculture practicum is one of several offered with the overall goal of giving students hands-on experience in a greenhouse.
Allowing the students to grow and maintain the finicky plants is a great way to let them put into practice what they’ve learned in their courses, Hazlett said. “With poinsettias, there are so many things you have to pay attention to, fertilizer schedules, watering schedules, and, of course, light schedules,” he said.
The notoriously light-sensitive plants are what’s known as a “short-day” crop. In order to turn all those brilliant colors, they need to have exactly the right amount of light exposure. Anymore – even from a streetlamp or car headlight – can hinder the process.
“This crop is wonderful to learn from,” Hazlett said. “And giving them that real, hands-on experience is the whole point of the Horticulture Center.” All funds raised will be used to pay for the materials for next year’s poinsettia crops and to maintain the greenhouse.
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