Iowa State’s Horticulture Club is hosting a seasonal poinsettia sale during the first week back from fall break. The club will have varieties of the festive flower for sale on campus Wednesday through Saturday.
The poinsettia is a flower commonly associated with the holidays. According to the University of Illinois Extension, the plant is the most popular Christmas decoration — not just in America, but in countries all over the world.
Cassie Rosane is a junior studying horticulture, and said she has an emphasis in greenhouse production. Rosane is the promotions committee chair of the Horticulture Club where she is responsible for advertising the sale across social media. She has been involved with the sale in the past.
Rosane said there are six different poinsettias available: red, white, red glitter, burgundy, pink and gold rush. The red and white varieties are available in six-and-a-half or 10-inch sizes. The red glitter, burgundy, pink and gold rush come in the six-and-a-half-inch size only.
Ten-inch red and white poinsettias will be sold for $35. Each variety of poinsettias that are six-and-a-half inches will be sold for $15.
The six-and-a-half-inch plants are grown in the greenhouses attached to Horticulture Hall on Iowa State’s campus. The sale orders the large red and white poinsettias because Rosane said there is not enough time or space to grow them with the smaller ones.
The poinsettias are grown and maintained by horticulture students. Amanda Vanscoy, a senior studying horticulture, helped facilitate the sale and was in charge of growing the flowers with the help of other members of Horticulture Club.
“[Vanscoy] is the committee chair for the poinsettia sale,” Rosane said. “People from the Horticulture Club [...] will come help her water or pinch poinsettias or whatever she needs.”
At Horticulture Club’s last meeting before the sale, Vanscoy discussed how customers would be informed about caring for their plant. Each poinsettia is sold with a note of instructions to follow to keep the flowers as healthy as they are in the greenhouse.
The poinsettias developed their color in the greenhouse in the weeks before the sale. Rosane said it is the leaves of the plant that bear the red or white color associated with poinsettias, not the flower itself.
Rosane said poinsettias also develop their color in the dark. Even though the fall and winter months have limited daylight, the greenhouse lights are shut off and black tarps are put up to shield the flowers from light in the afternoon.
The location of the sale is different every day. On Wednesday it will be in the Rotunda on the first floor of Curtiss Hall. The Thursday sale will be on the ground floor of Beardshear Hall. Friday's sale will take place outside of the bookstore in the Memorial Union. The final day of the sale, Saturday, will be at the main corridor of Reiman Gardens.
After the sale of poinsettias, the club analyzes the results. Sometimes they run out of poinsettias, and other times they have some plants left.
“We have extras, and it varies what we do with them,” Rosane said. “We usually go to a vote about what we are going to do. Sometimes we donate them, or sometimes we try to sell them again. It just depends on how many we have left over.”
The profits from the sale go back into Horticulture Club to fund activities such as trips, horticulture competitions and miscellaneous costs acquired with meetings.