Five years ago, we got everyone to think pink when Suntory introduced Princettia euphorbias with the goal of positioning the gift plants outside traditional Christmas sales. The most successful efforts beyond the traditional holiday season have been breast cancer awareness promotions in October. Some growers and retailers have even tried Princettia for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

But the natural gravitational pull continues to be Christmas, where Princettia has found its niche by offering deeper and brighter pinks, as well as whiter whites. Princettia’s natural branching habit creates more flower clusters with smaller bracts, like a beautiful centerpiece. Recommended pot sizes are 4 inches, 6 inches, mixed bowls and combinations.

Retailers and interiorscapers appreciate the plants’ longer shelf life. Princettia varieties also are more heat tolerant and durable in landscapes in Southern markets. They can withstand temperatures up to 95 degrees F in the landscape and to 104 F in the greenhouse.

The four Princettia varieties that have been on the market are Dark Pink, Pink, Hot Pink and Max White. Through Suntory’s partnership with Dümmen Orange, we will introduce three new colors in 2017:

Princettia Red

Growers who love the pinks have been clamoring for a red to match the series. The new Princettia Red has a warm color that is similar to a red poinsettia, but with the same naturally compact growth habit the Princettia series is known for. In Europe, this variety is Indian Red.

Princettia Pure White

Growers loved the true, paper white color of Max White, but not the fact that it is more vigorous and behaves differently than the three pinks in the series. The new Pure White matches the pinks in its growth habit. It is the purest white color ever seen on a poinsettia, combined with deep green leaves.

Just think of what a great assortment it will be to offer the three pinks with a matching red and white!

Princettia Queen Pink

Some growers have wished Princettia would size up larger to be more like a traditional poinsettia. Queen Pink is the first of the queen-sized varieties — in between the compact Princettias and a traditional poinsettia. Queen Pink has bright pink bracts, which are larger than the other Princettia varieties. Plants also grow larger and more vigorously, while finishing the same week as the compact Princettia series. In Europe, this variety is Midi Pink.

Stay out of the commodity trap!

Position Princettia as a premium item. Don’t let it get lost as an extra color in your general poinsettia offering. Maximize the opportunity by promoting the Princettia brand as special, because it is!

For more information, visit www.princettia.net

Princettia production pointers

Mike Gooder of Plantpeddler shares secrets of producing the best Princettia crop.

Compared to a traditional poinsettia, Princettia is easier to grow with less height and easier disease and pest management. It’s most applicable for 4-6.5 inch production, along with bowls and pans. Its timing schedule is similar to poinsettia’s. Varieties have a stronger root system that establishes quickly and with good root health. Princettia also has a long sales window and is easily timed through the seasons, being photoperiod responsive.

Scheduling

Flower timing is 7.5 weeks with gradual maturity. Plants color early with a long peak and hold late. Natural season is late November, depending on the location. For early finish, like for October breast cancer awareness sales, black cloth must be used for 13 hours continuously. Lighting is required for late crops – night interruption or day-length extension.

Starting

Pay attention to water, fertility and temperatures. Princettia is a more compact, low vigor plant. Plants will use less water than standard poinsettias. The trick is to maintain adequate fertility to promote maximum growth.

Start warm with media temperatures of 72-75 F day/night. As plants develop, growers can reduce temperatures to 65-68 F day/night as bracts expand. For maximum bract expansion, maintain warm temperatures through finish. Do not grow Princettia as a cool crop.

Branching

Princettia is very free-branching. Plants can have a tendency to over-branch. More branches mean smaller overall bract size. Keep this in mind: it’s a different look. Count nodes. The number of bracts desired plus one node is plenty.

Many European and Asian producers do a no-pinch production. We are trialing with Augeo and Florel. The earliest stage to consider Fascination is at inflorescence, two weeks prior to shipping. This is very optional.

Managing Growth

Pinks are naturally compact and mounding. Maintain adequate space to achieve this form. Minimal to no plant growth regulator (PGR) is required on the pink varieties. You can use Cycocel post pinch to even things up.

Princettia Max White is in a different vigor class. Branching is good but stem strength can be week. PGR sprays and drenches are recommended. We have found success with Cycocel at 750-1250 ppm. Max White is also more prone to cuttings splitting plants and bracts. To prevent splitting, pinch Max White 7-14 days after potting.

Pests & Diseases

Monitor and control pests and diseases typical for poinsettia production. Fungus gnat control is critical, especially in the beginning. Water management plays a role. Princettia has a stronger root system, but constant inspection is recommended. Apply fungicides as needed. Botrytis can be a risk near or at harvest, especially on very ripe plants and with Max White post-harvest.

For more information about Princettia, visit www.princettia.net

Notes: Adjust based on your experience and growing conditions. Typically: Deduct 1 LD (long day) week for 4.5 inch production, add 1 LD week for 6.5 inch-1ppp production. Allows for compact mounded finished form. For larger spec, allow one additional week LD. Must use short day/black cloth treatment for early flowering. Natural season is 7.5 weeks. Be aware of heat build-up under black cloth. Shade at dark, Extend morning for 13 hours short day minimum. * With good culture, irrigation and spacing, growth regulators are typically not required. ** To expand bracts at finish, apply Fascination at starting rates of 3-4 ppm
SOURCE: Plantpeddler