Performance of Poinsettia Cultivars Evaluated in 2003

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  • 1 Tennessee State Univ., Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research, Nashville, TN 37209-1561
  • | 2 Tennessee State Univ., Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research, Nashville, TN 37209-1561
  • | 3 Tennessee State Univ., Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research, Nashville, TN 37209-1561

Twenty-one commercially introduced or trial cultivars of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) supplied by Dummen USA or Ecke were grown at the TSU main campus farm during Autumn 2003. Ten plants of each cultivar were potted in 6-inch standard containers and grown from rooted cuttings to finished plants according to industry cultural practices in a glass greenhouse. Plant heights were recorded weekly. The date on which anthers began to shed pollen (flowering date) was recorded to calculate response time after initiation of short days. Also recorded on the flowering date were final plant height and two measurements of plant width and inflorescence width. Most cultivars finished within two weeks of the predicted response time of 7.5-9 weeks. However, flowers of `Infinity Red', `Merlot', `Mirage', and `Premium Marble' shed pollen especially late. Flower structures aborted on `Prestige', `Elegance Hot Pink' and `Premium Hot Pink'. Most cultivars were relatively compact at finish date. `Twister', `EuroGlory', and `Coco 2000 White' were particularly small, with average heights of 28-30 cm and average widths of 17 cm or less. `Spotlight Dark Red' was tallest (37cm) and widest (41cm), and also had the widest inflorescences (26 cm). Quality issues observed on some cultivars included low inflorescence number, excessive bract overlap, bract burn, bract reversion, high height to width ratio, and low plant vigor. Cultivars with overall high quality performance included `Premium Red', `Infinity Red', `Spotlight Dark Red', `Coco 2000 Red', and `Freedom', which all scored highly in the consumer preference survey conducted at the end of the study.

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