Princettia Hot Pink
Although fall usually brings a warmer, darker color palette of reds, oranges and golds, opportunities also abound to stand out and think pink!
With October being the official month for breast cancer awareness campaigns, vibrant pink Princettia plants are a perfect fit for fundraisers and gifts. And no Christmas poinsettia assortment is complete without stunning novelty colors. Princettia offers shades of pink not seen in other breeding. Max White, which is as white as a sheet of paper, presents a different flower form. Think of the possibilities as a retailer, floral designer or grower putting together combinations for the holidays.
Princettia is a brand of interspecific hybrid euphorbias that have traits that improve upon the traditional poinsettia. In addition to vibrant, unique colors, Princettia plants have a compact habit with branching that creates more flower clusters with smaller bracts, like a centerpiece. They offer extended shelf life at retail and are more heat tolerant and durable in landscapes.
Princettia Dark Pink is the darkest of the three pink varieties and a favorite at University of Florida’s student plant sale last year. Princettia Hot Pink is a striking bubblegum pink in the midrange of the three colors. Princettia Pink is the lightest of the three. Retailers like that it's a cooler pale shade. The three mix beautifully in 12-inch color bowls.
Max White is different than the three pinks. Habit is more vigorous and upright. Its greatest selling point is that it's the whitest white on the market. Most white poinsettias have a creamy yellow cast.
Production tips and observations
In a webinar presentation, grower Mike Gooder of Plantpeddler in Cresco, Iowa, shared observations and tips for growing Princettia compared to traditional poinsettias:
Overall, the plants are easier to grow with less height disease and pest management. Princettia varieties are most suited for 4-inch to 6.5-inch pot production, along with color bowls and pans. Production timing is similar to poinsettia.
Gooder observes Princettia plants have a strong root system that establishes quickly and good root health in general. He also notes the long sales window and the ability to easily force them for sales at alternative times of year, like October breast cancer awareness or February for Valentine’s Day.
Compared to standard poinsettias, Princettia pink varieties are more compact and mounding. Max White has higher vigor. Less to no PGR is required for pink varieties.
Scheduling: For Christmas and October sales windows, Princettia times as an 8-week with gradual maturity. It colors early with a long peak and holds late. Natural season is late November, depending on location. For early finish, black cloth must be used — 12+ hours of continuous short days until color. Lighting is required for late crops via night interruption or day-length extension.
Temperature: Princettia likes warmer temperatures, especially at production trials. Branching is good, but stem strength is average. Plants can be controlled with PGR sprays and drenches. For Max White, it is important to control growth and provide adequate support in larger pot sizes.
Pest & disease control: Monitor and control pests and diseases typical for poinsettia production. Fungus gnat control is critical, especially at the start. Water management plays a role. Although Princettia root systems are stronger, constant inspection is recommended. Apply fungicides as needed. Botrytis can be a risk near or at harvest, especially on very ripe plants.
Managing growth: Princettia pink varieties are naturally compact and mounding. Maintain adequate space to achieve this form. Minimal to no PGR is required on pink varieties. Max White is in a different vigor class. Gooder says Plantpeddler has found success using Cycocel at rates of 750 to 1250 ppm when breaks are 1 to 1½ inches.
Finishing: Grow Princettia all the way to finish, as it will size up late in production, like Premium varieties. Do not cool unless bracts have fully expanded. Plantpeddler has successfully trialed Fascination at 3 to 5 ppm for bract expansion 2 weeks from shipping. Trial at your facility. Cyathia hold well and mature slowly.
Take away advice for success — Keep it simple. This is an easier crop to grow!
Read more in the September issue of Ornamental Breeder.