Poinsettia sale delayed by greenhouse malfunction

November 27, 2018

The annual Ector County Independent School District poinsettia sale will be held a little later this year because the original flowers died.

Dates will be Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 10 through Dec. 18 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ECISD greenhouse, 104 S. Grandview Ave.

Horticulture teacher Christina Kile said the cooling system in the greenhouse gave out this summer.

“It got so hot we had to keep them in our potting room. We kept them in there too long and they ended up dying,” Kile said.

Poinsettias need to be kept at 73 degrees and are technically on the tropical side.

“They’re very delicate and it’s hard to grow them here, really,” Kile said.

Kile said she ended up having to buy 1,500 poinsettias, but 1,000 lived.

“I’ll get those the week of the sale. We won’t get those until then because they’re full grown, so they’ll be bigger than we’ve ever had and they’ll be in a six-inch pot but they’ll be about 10 to 12 inches tall. They’ll be huge,” Kile said.

She said they purchased a variety of pink, variegated, red and burgundy.

She added that the plants are usually 8 inches tall, but those are typically gone before anyone sees them.

“Usually the churches will come and pick those out,” Kile said.

Depending on the quality of the purchased poinsettias, Kile said they hope to sell them for $10 each. This will allow the program to recoup the loss of the plants the students grew that didn’t make it.

The proceeds go into the greenhouses.

“The kids learned a lot, though, in my opinion. I feel like the kids really learned that not everything works out the way you planned. … You have to have a plan B,” Kile said.

Nally Dominguez, 18, and Tatum Seal, 17, both seniors at Odessa High School, were disappointed about the poinsettias.

“We were really devastated,” Dominguez said. “We put all of our hard work and dedication into those plants.”

She said they went to the greenhouse during the summer because they are FFA officers and helped plant the poinsettias so they would be ready for the fall sale.

“But it’s definitely a really big learning experience …,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez added that when they have the poinsettias, “It just looks absolutely beautiful.”

“It’s cool seeing it all the way to every wall,” Seal said. “It kind of breaks your heart that we didn’t get to see it this year.”

Kile said she hopes that people who come to the poinsettia sale will buy at the spring sale, as well. That event is usually held in April or May, she said.

It will feature petunias, geraniums, hanging baskets and spider plants, Kile said.

Kile said there are four greenhouses, but only three work. The fourth is used for storage.

“This one’s constantly going. We have plants in here all year round …,” Kile said.

She added that lightning can hit the power boxes, which causes power outages.

Executive Director of Career and Technical Education Carla Byrne said she wants the public to be aware of the state of the greenhouses.

Byrne said the lost poinsettias come at a cost to the horticulture activity fund.

“But we know the community depends on us for the poinsettia sale. We don’t want to let anyone down, but we also need people to be aware of what we are working with,” Byrne said in a text message.

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