Sitting pretty: Recognizing National Poinsettia Day

Courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture
Checking out poinsettias from a greenhouse at the Bountiful Gardens store in Mercer County are Operations Manager Mike Mills, owner Lisa Miccolis and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison. Miccolis purchases her poinsettias from Medford’s Lennon Farm Greenhouses.

New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison III visited the Bountiful Garden in Mercer County on Dec. 12 to highlight National Poinsettia Day.

The holiday favorites area now being shipped by state greenhouses – in the case of Bountiful Gardens with locations in Somerset and Mercer counties – and nursery growers. New Jersey is number five in the U.S. for wholesale poinsettias sold in the USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture) most recent horticulture census. The nursery sector is the largest commodity group in state agriculture, with an annual value of more than half a billion dollars.

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“Poinsettias, with their bright and beautiful colors, enhance the display of any holiday setting or celebration,” Atchison said. ” … Purchasing poinsettias from a local nursery or greenhouse adds to the state economy and supports local families.”

Bountiful Gardens is owned by Lisa Miccolis and has been in business since 2006. The store is part of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and also has locations in Hillsborough and Ewing. Miccolis purchases her poinsettias from Medford’s Lennon Farm Greenhouses in Burlington County.

“Poinsettias provide a wonderful backdrop to a wide range of events during this holiday season,” she noted. “They are an excellent complement in a variety of settings.”

Poinsettias are easy to care for and should be watered only when dry to the touch. They should be located in a bright, cool place without drafts and away from heat sources such as vents, fireplaces and radiators.

The poinsettia was first introduced in the U.S. by Joel Roberts Poinsett and it has a storied history in New Jersey. The Oak Leaf type was introduced by a Jersey City horticulturist in the 1920s and dominated sales for the next 40 years because it was the first cultivar suitable for growing in a pot. Like other national observances every month, National Poinsettia Day was created by an act of Congress.

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