National exposure

Working with Plantpeddler, Better Homes & Gardens magazine published an article about novelty poinsettia varieties.

Photos courtesy of Plantpeddler

Poinsettia breeders and growers received the gift of being in the national limelight thanks to a slick magazine spread in Better Homes & Gardens. Plantpeddler coordinated with Better Homes & Gardens magazine to produce an article and photoshoot in its December issue to feature non-traditional and novelty poinsettias.

Better Homes & Gardens (BHG) wanted to do an article on novelty and non-red poinsettia varieties. When most people think of poinsettias, they think of the color red, which goes with the traditional and standard red-green color scheme that dominates the holiday season. However, Mike Gooder, owner of Cresco, Iowa-based Plantpeddler, wants to expand and redefine what poinsettias can be in consumers’ minds. And working on an article with BHG was an excellent opportunity to make that happen.

“Hopefully it does what it's supposed to do and works some magic at retail for the smaller independent garden centers,” Gooder says, adding that this is “the ultimate goal” of the article.

Gooder describes the red poinsettia as a crop that’s “abused” by marketing. “There was a lot of devaluation that went on in poinsettias when it became a loss leader for Black Friday,” he explains. “We went from the perception of a poinsettia being a $15 to $20 premium retail flowering plant to a get-six-for-$10 or a $2-apiece crop, so quality suffered. The image of the poinsettia took a beating.”

Stacy Bryant, sales representative at Plantpedller, says red poinsettias conintue to monopolize the big-box store shelves.

In addition to offering poinsettias that are naturally different colors, Plantpeddler also offers painted poinsettias, as shown in the photo above.

“You'll see, obviously, red, and maybe you used to see some pinks and whites, but even now it's almost dominated by red,” she says. “So, there are a lot of people that really don't even know there are all these really cool and fancy colors out there. And it's wonderful that Better Homes & Gardens could take it to the public like this and have a really gorgeous article that shows off some of these unique things that poinsettias bring to the holidays.”

“We always put a nice mix of novelties in our production,” Bryant says. “When we send the poinsettias out to retailers, they're always going to get some unique novelties, [along with] their reds, whites and pinks.”

This expansion into non-standard colors and varieties comes with some risk. Everyone along the whole supply chain needs to be willing to take the risk of offering different varieties.

Gooder says that getting the customer to buy the novelty variety was the hardest thing to do. But Plantpeddler has taken this risk before when they started selling painted poinsettias.

“[When we first started] we had to [offer a] guarantee to retailers, and I had almost a 100% claim because no one wanted a blue poinsettia, but now we sell thousands and thousands,” Gooder says. “So, it sometimes hurts to be on the bleeding edge, but you have to go there if you're going to change the dynamic of the conversation.”

With this Better Homes & Gardens article, Gooder hopes that consumers asked retailers for these novelty, non-red poinsettias this holiday season. The goal was for consumer demand to start a backwards domino effect where retailers will tell growers that they need more of the novelty varieties for the 2023 season because so many people asked for them in 2022, creating a demand for growers to offer those varieties for the next season.

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