Holiday demand keeps NJ poinsettia growers busy

ALLENTOWN, N.J. (WPVI) -- It's crunch time at Kube-Pak farm in Allentown, New Jersey - one of the biggest poinsettia growers in the state.

Warehouse employees start at 7:30 in the morning picking and packing orders at this third generation family business run by the Swanekamp family.

"We do around 95,000 poinsettias a year. They vary in size from 12 inches down to a small 4 inch poinsettias," said John Swanekamp.

Jeff Walls is the head grower. He makes sure that every plant is top-quality for the wholesalers and clients Kube-Pak sells to.

"It's a long crop and they are a little finicky about nutrition. Once you get the nutrition down they take care of themselves after that," Walls said.

Interior plantscaper David Fiscarelli is selecting the poinsettias he'll use for his business, Growing Expectations.

"People are really in demand for poinsettias so it's rush, rush right now," he said.

Fiscarelli is a loyal customer.

"They do the best, they grow the best. They've been in it for years and yeah this is where we shop," he said.

Red remains by far the most popular color and it's the most traditional one, too. But over the years they've developed all kinds of variations

There's white and pink and varigated varieties, but you can also get teal or purple poinsettias - they're painted, by the way - or plants with glitter or snow

"Busy right now, three weeks or so. We'll be busy up until Christmas Eve. We're selling everything, busy, little hectic, but it's nice. Beautiful looking at all the plants every day," said warehouse worker Ashleigh Smith.

Poinsettias were first introduced to America in 1828 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, a botanist, physician and our country's first ambassador to Mexico.

Who knew that almost 200 years later they would continue to be a colorful, bright symbol of the holidays and our country's most popular Christmas plant.
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