Greenhouses all over the world are prepping for their 2024 new varieties, and DS Cole Growers in Loudon, NH, proudly displayed some of their new varieties just in time for the holiday season.

On Nov. 18, DS Cole Growers hosted an open house to introduce their new varieties to potential buyers in the industry. The majority of the plants displayed were poinsettias, perfect for the upcoming Christmas season.

Chris Schlegel, head grower at DS Cole, led a group of interested visitors around the greenhouse, explaining the process from unrooted cuttings to shipping. They have around 26 poinsettia crops this season, which all came to the greenhouse as unrooted cuttings. Schlegel explained the protocols they take after receiving these cuttings, which begins with placing each of them in oasis cubes. The cuttings stay in the cubes, retaining water, until about four to five weeks later, when they can be planted.

Shlegel shared that the vibrant colors of poinsettias are actually not the plants’ flowers. “The colored portions of the plant are modified leaves – the flowers are actually in the center,” he said.

Chris Schlegel, head grower at DS Cole, showcases some of the many poinsettia varieties they offer. Photo by Kelsi Devolve

DS Cole grows and sells a wide variety of poinsettias, including Christmas Mouse Red, Draco Red, Christmas Feelings Pink, Jubilee Pink, Kayla Red and more.

When it comes to climate control, Shlegel explained why the temperature matters when growing poinsettias. There is a strategy used to manipulate the height of the plant, specifically around sunrise. By increasing the temperature at sunrise, you can increase the height of the plant; decreasing the temperature at sunrise halts the height of the plant at that time.

Additionally, the temperature of the greenhouse affects the colors of the poinsettias. “If you grow them too warm, they’ll grow a little faded. They’re more vibrant if you grow them a little cooler,” he said. For this reason, Shlegel keeps the greenhouse around 64º F.

Besides temperature controls, DS Cole Growers focuses on watering efficiency and beneficial insects. They utilize ECHO lines for watering their plants, with a mixture of water and fertilizer. They also use predatory mites, place nematodes on the plants and monitor insects with sticky cards throughout the greenhouse. With all of these techniques, DS Cole is confident they will provide high-quality plants to their customers for the holiday season and 2024.

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by Kelsi Devolve