Campus News

UGA horticulture brightens the holidays with poinsettia sale

Poinsettia Sale - Warehouse
UGA horticulture students have cultivated about 600 poinsettias for sale this holiday season. They are selling for $10 a piece to benefit the Pi Alpha Xi Horticulture Honor Society.

Poinsettias available in an array of colors for $10 a piece; pickup available on Reading Day, Dec. 4, and Dec. 11-12

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia chapter of horticultural honor society Pi Alpha Xi is selling poinsettias this week and next to help fund the club’s operations over the next year.

The poinsettias, which now fill a greenhouse on Riverbend Road, come in the traditional red and white and in four of the newest varieties on the market-pink and white Sparkling Punch, hot pink and soft pink Ice Punch, hot pink Polly’s Pink and the soft mottled red and white Monet Early.

“These are not your traditional poinsettias,” said John Morgan, a senior from Gainesville studying horticulture and president of the Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society. “The plants are grown to a size that fits a dinner table or dining room, or a living room coffee table. They are more compact and less floppy than what is commonly seen in stores.”

Morgan and two other senior horticulture students grew the crop this semester as part of greenhouse management capstone class. The students wanted the experience of growing an entire greenhouse crop from start to finish using the format commercial growers use, and they also wanted to start a fundraiser that wouldn’t compete with the Horticulture Club’s annual plant sale, Morgan said.

“It’s been really fun growing them because we started with tiny green shoots,” said horticulture senior David Parker of Atlanta. “And we just watched them develop this whole variety of color.”

Each 6-inch potted poinsettia was grown in Athens from a tiny cutting under sustainable greenhouse conditions. The uniform quality of the crop is quite remarkable considering that this is the students’ first try at running an entire greenhouse operation, and only three students were involved, Thomas said.

“This is one of the toughest crops to grow in the horticulture world,” Thomas said. “Any grower in the greenhouse industry will tell you that. So we made this learning experience a special problems, experiential learning class. They had to plan it, grow the cuttings from start to finish and figure out how they were going to market and sell them, just like professional growers would.”

Thomas helped the students schedule the poinsettia crop this year in part to also help provide holiday decorations for college events.

“We were always scrambling to find some for decorations and for gifts at this time of year,” Thomas said. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just grow our own.'”

He and the students quickly realized that demand for quick Christmas presents spread far beyond the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Students will use the money raised through the poinsettia sale to fund travel to academic and professional conferences and for their annual membership banquet, Morgan said.

Those who would like to purchase poinsettias before they head off for the holidays can email the students at Poinsettia pickup will be at the Riverbend Road greenhouse on Reading Day, Dec. 4, and the last two days of final exams, Dec. 11-12.

Photos of the available varieties are available at