Coast Report Headline

A Perennial Tradition

Nearly 12,000 poinsettias were grown for the annual sale.

Photos by Lindsay Peters

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 5:15 pm

Ashley Ruiz, Staff Writer | 0 comments

What started with a plant of two leaves and a class of students eager to put their green thumbs to work has grown into seven greenhouses filled with red, white and pink poinsettias enclosed behind the gates of the horticulture garden.

Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. the gates and doors of the greenhouse will be opened to the public for Orange Coast College’s annual poinsettia sale put on by the horticulture department and its students.

Since the beginning of the semester, ornamental horticulture instructor John Lenanton and his students have been busy growing poinsettias through a class offered on Wednesday nights.

“We started planting them on the first day of school. Altogether, we have grown about 50 poinsettias per student,” Deborah Coultas, a student and president of the horticulture club said.

The poinsettias grow in greenhouses with controlled temperature, a drip water system and fans, Coultas said.

Ranging in size from small to large, the flowers can be bought in pots, centerpieces or baskets or bowls, Coultas said.

This year about 12,000 poinsettias were grown, Joseph Stead, an ornamental horticulture instructor said.

“Professor Lenanton is so dialed in and such a professional that the class is run like a business,” Coultas said. “He knows how many of what kinds sold well last year and makes decisions based upon that.”

While completing the business aspect of the sale students are asked to calculate which types of flowers were most profitable at the end of the semester, Coultas said.

All of the proceeds cycle back to the horticulture garden and are used to fund student projects such as the sale, Stead said.

“The sale started with John Lenanton and 100 cuttings from the same people that we still get our cuttings from today — Ecke Farms — about 30 years ago,” Stead said.

Over the years the sale has grown in size, and pre-sale order forms (for a mandatory $100 purchase) were sent out to a mailing list of about 1,000 people this year, Stead said.

Horticulture students and club members will host the sale and pre-orders will be ready for pickup on Thursday, according to Coultas.

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