How green energy is giving UK poinsettia growers the edge this Christmas

Lisa Lindfield inspects the crop of Poinsettias at Bridge Farm Group in Spalding, Lincolnshire, ahead of the Christmas period.
Credit: PA

One of the UK's largest poinsettia growers says that it is managing to weather the energy price crisis and will this year grow more than one million of the popular Christmas houseplants.

Bridge Farm Group, based in Spalding in Lincolnshire, supplies Tesco, and the supermarket chain said that UK growers are taking over from the Dutch as the main suppliers of poinsettias.

It said the use of sustainable biomass heating had allowed them to get an edge on continental rivals having to cope with high fuel bills.

Louise Motala, managing director of Bridge Farm Group, said: “Growing poinsettias at this time of year requires heat and we know that Dutch growers have cut back on production this year due to rising gas prices.

“We have been able to manage our energy costs through the use of sustainable biomass heating, enabling us to continue to produce over one million UK grown poinsettias again this year and ensuring that consumers will still be able to buy this much-loved festive plant this Christmas.”

More than a million of the plants will be grown at the company's huge glasshouse. Credit: PA

Tesco said that UK growers had increased their supply to the supermarket by almost 800% in the last five years.

Tesco plant buyer Vicky l’Anson said: “When poinsettias first became popular as a houseplant in the late 20th century we used to import them from Holland, but now most of our stock is grown in the UK, with Bridge Farm Group our main supplier.

"The British variety are more acclimatised to the UK climate, so not only do they involve fewer road miles by being grown closer to home, but they are hardier too.”

The poinsettia season is one of the shortest and they remain in stores for roughly eight weeks – from the end of October until the end of December.

Poinsettias originated in Mexico where they originally grew much like a weed.

Poinsettias originally grew in Mexico as a weed but are now a popular sign of Christmas. Credit: PA

They got the name ‘poinsettia’ after Joel Roberts Poinsett who was a representative of the United States to Mexico as well as being a keen botanist.

They were successfully cultivated in the US during the early 1900s by a German immigrant named Albert Ecke.

Later generations of the Ecke family successfully marketed poinsettias as a Christmas-themed plant during the second half of the 20th century, and they are now widely associated with festive cheer.

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