First it was pumpkins, then produce. Now poinsettias?
It appears our recent, unusual weather pattern has made it difficult for farmers of the popular holiday plant.
Red leaves are what what most of us envision when we think about the traditional holiday plant. But the combination of late summer heat and unusually heavy rains left many poinsettias in peril.
“Too much heat, overcast. We don’t have that coldness in the mornings, so that plays a lot on the delay of the coloring,” said Shannon Kaiu of Glenn’s Nursery.
At Glenn’s Nursery in Waimanalo, time is still on their side. Most of they plants they grow are the varieties known to be late bloomers. So even though they’re a bit behind schedule, they should be ready for Christmas with the right amount of TLC.
“The amount of time that I spend walking through every half-hour or so, I’m constantly going through to see which ones are turning red, which ones are still green. I gotta look for pests. I gotta look for growth,” Kaiu said.
Just up the road at Leilani Nursery, there is much more red than there is green. That’s because most of the pants there are early bloomers.
“These will be in the market tomorrow, some of them, and then next week it really goes crazy,” said Bill Durston of Leilani Nursery.
Durston says he focuses mostly on the early bloomers because most of his customers want to take delivery by Thanksgiving. But it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s getting warmer at night and it’s delaying the plants turning red and making us not be able to grow as many varieties as we used to be able to,” he said.
This year’s crop at Leilani Nursery is about 75,000. Despite the late blooming, things look pretty good. But Durston knows, as do all the other farmers, they’re just one big storm away from potential disaster.
“I watch the news and I watch the weather and I have it on my phone and we try to try to prepare the best we can but we really at the mercy of weather,” Durston said.
Both farmers say the recent good weather gives them hope all will turn out well with this year’s crop, and all they can do for now is care for the plants and keep their fingers crossed.
When it comes to poinsettias, weather and timing are everything.
“Especially the churches. They don’t like them until a day or two before Christmas and we’ve got to hold onto them, and we’ve got the wind factors that we’re dealing with right now. It’s hard,” Kaiu said.
“It’s really critical. The summertime is kind of slow and the fall, there’s no real big holidays. But Christmas, we really need to sell all of these and get them out to market,” Durston said.
If you want to adorn your home now, many of the early bloomers are already for sale.
But if you prefer to wait for the late bloomers, there’s a good chance your poinsettias will still be in good shape all the way through Valentine’s Day.