A poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) open house was held at the TSU main campus farm in Dec. 2003, during which a high quality finished plant of each of 21 cultivars was on display (supplied by Dummen USA and Ecke in August as rooted cuttings). The cultivars varied in inflorescence color and pattern, plant size and plant growth habit. Members of the campus community, the Tennessee Flower Growers Association, extension personnel, and the general public attended. Most attendees completed a written survey (n = 173), in which they rated how strongly they liked or disliked each cultivar. Cultivars were rated on a Likert-type scale (1 = strongly dislike, 7 = strongly like). Highly rated cultivars (mean >6) included `Premium Red', `Infinity Red', `Spotlight Dark Red', `Coco 2000 Red', `Merlot', `Prestige', `Freedom', and `Premium Hot Pink'. Less preferred (mean <4.4) were `Premium Marble', `Mirage', and `Limelight'. Although no cultivars were strongly disliked, the large, traditional red cultivars were preferred. Attendees also provided information on demographics and plant purchases. The typical attendee was a 40- to 59-year-old female with a college education and 2 to 3 people in the household with a total income of $25,000-50,000. Eighty percent bought poinsettias in 2002, with an average of 3.7 plants purchased. Eighty percent of plants purchased were red, and color was the most important selection feature. Results suggest that although most consumers prefer traditional red cultivars, a niche market exists for plants with novel inflorescence colors and unique bract and leaf coloration patterns and shapes.
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