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Red poinsettias during the annual Poinsettia Sale

UF Environmental Horticulture Club hosts 24th annual Poinsettia Sale

By Teresa Suits

2020 has been a year filled with “unprecedented times,” making it more important than ever to spread holiday cheer this winter season while also supporting students in the UF Environmental Horticulture Club.

The 2020 Poinsettia Sale will have 4,500 plants available, with more than 50 unique varieties.

The sale typically draws hundreds of customers from all over the state and southeast to the greenhouses on the UF campus. To protect health and safety and minimize the number of people shopping at one time, the 24th annual poinsettia sale will look a little different this year, with customers browsing poinsettias by appointment or drive-thru options.

Appointments can be scheduled for December 7 through 11. Customers can schedule their appointment starting November 1 at the club website, http://gatorpoinsettia.com. Appointments will be held at the greenhouse behind Fifield Hall, 2475 Memorial Rd., Gainesville, FL 32611 (follow the signs).

Appointments are 20 minutes long, and the appointment maker is allotted 3 guests to accompany them. Shoppers planning on staying for longer than 20 minutes can schedule for back-to-back appointments.

Drive-thru sales will be December 12 and 13. While appointments are not necessary for the drive-thru, there is no guarantee that all varieties will still be available.

The sale will feature many classic varieties, like Imperial Red and Whitestar, and many unique and novelty varieties, including Polly’s Pink, Winter Rose, Superba New Glitter and Marblestar.

The Environmental Horticulture Club began preparing for the sale in early August when they received the donated poinsettia cuttings from various agricultural companies. Over the next few months, club members scheduled shifts to pot, space and tend to the plants, all the while learning valuable skills that will help them succeed in the job market.

“Learning skills from a hands-on club is so important, especially now that most classes are online,” explained Corrina Vuillequez, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences plant science student and president of the Environmental Horticulture Club. “Many students, myself included, depend on the Environmental Horticulture Club for volunteer opportunities, gaining horticultural skills and connecting with others in the field.”

The proceeds of the sale are used to support members on the club’s trips to learn about the horticulture industry across the world. The club traveled to Ecuador in 2018 and Spain in 2019. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 planned trip to Hawaii was cancelled. The international trips broaden students’ worldview and offer global networking opportunities, as the club visits horticultural operations around the world.

Vuillequez said, “We really depend on the community for support, and appreciate everyone who comes out to our sale.”

Buying a poinsettia will not only add some color to your holiday decorations, but it will also brighten the lives of the UF Environmental Horticulture club, enriching their academic careers.

Have questions about the poinsettia sale? Contact Corrina Vuillequez at (585) 662-3444 or email gatorpoinsettia@gmail.com.

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