Celebrate National Poinsettia Day by Learning More About the Holiday Symbol

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MONROEVILLE, N.J. -

Whether you call them "POIN-SETTAS" or "POIN-SETT-IAS," these flowers are found all over the place during the holiday season.

“It’s just festive," said George Lucas, owner of Lucas Greenhouses. "I mean, that red color is Christmas, right? And now, today, we’re breeding with all these different breeders. They’ve got all kinds of different colors. You have pink, marble, white glitter, jingle bells, burgundies — you have different kinds of mixes that are coming out.”

Lucas explained that even with the new colors, 80 percent of poinsettias are still that traditional holiday red.

“At this time of the year, pretty much everyone wants to have a poinsettia in their home," said Douglas Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture.

According to experts, New Jersey is actually one of the Top 10 poinsettia growers in the country.

“The value of the crop in New Jersey is almost $7 million, according to a census a few years ago. I imagine it’s even higher today," said Fisher.

Lucas Greenhouses sell poinsettias three different ways. They sell liners, which are the starter plants for other growers; pre-finished, which are halfway grown for other growers, as well as completely grown plants, which they sell wholesale to local retailers.

“If you combine them all, it might be 10, 12 percent of our total income for the year," said Lucas.

Lucas said poinsettias take up a lot of space, a lot of time, and are actually their hardest plant to grow finished.

“Profitability depends on pricing, but it’s a commodity type of a crop, but we get good pricing. We sell to independent garden centers, [and] we actually sell some to the Phillies," said Lucas.

Owners said they don’t have much left to sell as they end their poinsettia season. Believe it or not, they’ve already begun the growing process for next year.

Many people are apprehensive about buying poinsettias due to the fact that they have pets. Owners at Lucas Greenhouse said that an animal would have to eat a very large amount of the flower to actually get sick. 

Poinsettias are commonly referred to as poisonous for cats and dogs, but according to studies, those warnings may be exaggerated. So, don't panic if Fido gets a hold of a leaf.

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