Cherished traditions keep us going in difficult times. And come the 2020 holiday season, many of us in CTAHR will look forward to the beautiful, one-of-a-kind poinsettias grown by the Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences.
So, despite the cancellation of many events on UHM campus, the TPSS Graduate Student Organization (GSO), together with Assistant Researcher Orville Baldos and his TPSS 364 Horticulture students, have decided to not let the pandemic ruin Christmas. With planning and growing poinsettias a six-months-ahead endeavor, they have planted their cuttings in hopes of continuing the department’s annual poinsettia sale.
The floriculture company, Dümmen Orange, grows stock poinsettias in Africa and South America, and has kindly donated all planting materials. From these stock plants, small branches are cut and shipped to Hawaiʻi. These small branches are called “cuttings” and can be used to grow larger plants.
This year’s first shipment of poinsettia cuttings was planted by the TPSS 364 students, giving them hands-on experience in production. When the second shipment arrived, a few TPSS graduate students and Dr. Baldos planted those, too – all while practicing safe physical distancing.
“Near the end of this Fall 2020 semester, the TPSS GSO will hold a modified poinsettia sale,” says PhD candidate Jaclyn Nicole Uy. “Our student org will schedule ‘drive-though/walk-through’ pick-up times and mostly digital payments. Hopefully, these bright, colorful flowers will help bring normalcy and joy to the holiday season!”