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Research helps UK Poinsettia growers beat foreign imports & smaller window sills

Dr Debbie Fuller
Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality image
Poinsettia plants remain a popular Christmas purchase in the UK but British poinsettia growers have to battle against a tidal wave of imports from Continental Europe. Now researchers at the University of Warwick are providing British poinsettia growers with the techniques to grow as many poinsettia plants as their European rivals while maintaining the high quality of UK grown poinsettias. The researchers have also developed some new tricks to cope with the shrinking size of UK window sills.

British growers have to compete with continental European poinsettia growing techniques that produce more plants per square metre - but often at the expense of producing a weaker less quality plant. Now researchers, led by Dr Debbie Fuller at the University of Warwick's plant research arm Warwick HRI, have devised methods that could allow up to a 66% increase in the number of poinsettias that UK growers can produce while maintaining a strong high quality plant.

One of the techniques devised by the Warwick researchers uses lighting controls to manipulate the length of day experienced by poinsettia plants. This manipulation keeps the plant in its "green" stage for a longer period, delaying the appearance of the characteristic red leaves. This technique will allow UK growers to increase plant yields while still producing very strong, symmetrical high quality plants.

The Warwick team have brought together what is believed the largest collection of different Poinsettia varieties ever assembled in the UK, 22 different types of the plant, for field trials to help UK growers expand the range of commercially poinsettias to attract new customers to the plant. For instance some younger customers want more dramatic or unusual poinsettias such as the "Freedom Fireworks" variety. There is also interest in examining varieties targeted at the problem of the decreasing size of British window sills which require plants with smaller bases but which retain dramatic floral displays. The trials even have an answer for those who want a poinsettia that really stands out from the rest with varieties of poinsettia with yellow or white leaves at the top of the plant in place of the traditional red.

Print quality photography available: A range of pictures of Dr Fuller with poinsettias are available contact Peter Dunn for details.


Video footage of the poinsettia work at the University of Warwick is available click on the orange i-cast box above. 
That footage is also available in broadcast quality format contact Tom Abbott if you want it on:
t.abbott@warwick.ac.uk 024 7657 4474 or mobile 07920 531160


Notes for editors:

1. The Warwick HRI research is funded by The Horticultural Development Council (HDC) - a statutory body who administer the collection of an 'industry levy' to fund essential near-market research and development for the benefit of UK horticulture.

2. The following Poinsettia grower is available for interview should you wish to have a perspective from a British grower: Gary Shoreland - Double H (Nurseries) Ltd, Gore Road, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 7NG. Tel: 01425 616565

Additional pictures
Dr Debbie Fuller
Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality image
Dr Debbie Fuller
Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality image
Dr Debbie Fuller
Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality image
Dr Debbie Fuller
Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality image
Dr Debbie Fuller
Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality image
Dr Debbie Fuller

Dr Debbie Fuller
Print quality picture

For further information please contact:

Dr Debbie Fuller, Warwick HRI,
University of Warwick 024 76 575054
Debbie.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, Communications Office, University of Warwick,
024 76 523708 email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

PR84 PJD December 2006