Bright Winter Blooms

Poinsettias are back at The Missouri Botanical Garden with a new variety, Pepita. 

By Catherine Martin

Photography by Tom Incrocci


The Missouri Botanical Garden grows about 1,000 poinsettias for its Holiday Floral Show.

The poinsettias arrive in July as little seedling plugs where they are planted into pots and fertilized. After a few weeks, horticulture staff trim the plants to encourage branching, or trim off side shoots on the single stems to make them taller. Once they are established in their pots, the team puts them on an automatic drip system that gives them a set amount of fertilizer water every day. This helps prevent fungal diseases and ensures each poinsettia gets the same amount of water so their growth is more uniform. They start coloring naturally around mid-October. By November, they are ready for the show!

New variety this year: 'Pepita.’ This is a smaller version of Ranch Red, introduced to the show last year. The plants have a strong cyathia presentation on a smaller scale. Rinehart Poinsettias donated 35 'Pepita' poinsettias for the Garden's 2023 show.