Poinsettias blooming early in NC this year

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KING, N.C. — Nothing about 2020 has been normal for most of us, including poinsettia growers.

The Christmas favorite is flowering one to two weeks early this year, and no one knows why.

“They may be as desperate as we are wanting some color and beauty around,” said Jim Mitchell with Mitchell’s Nursery. “We’ve talked with other growers as well as NC State, and everyone around us is having that 7-10 day advance on flowering of poinsettias.”

Jim and his wife Judy grow around 11,000 poinsettias in 103 different varieties. They are the largest grower of the plant in the region and are a test sight for breeders new varieties. 

“By October, I could tell it’s faster than usual,” said Judy, who started seeing the plants flower in early October.

Buyers noticed too. 

“We sold one in October this year, and we’ve never sold one in October before,” she said.

While the early start has been reported statewide, no one, including agriculture experts at NC State, knows why.

But maybe it’s Mother Nature’s way of helping us all find some beauty in 2020. 

“I think everybody is ready for Christmas, some color and some sense of normalcy.” 

The plants are still expected, if cared for properly, to stay full of color way beyond Christmas. 

Though COVID forced Mitchell’s Nursery to hold off on this year’s open house, they are still open for buyers to shop and vote on this year’s test varieties that could end up in stores next year. 

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