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The holidays have officially arrived at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with the annual student Poinsettia Sale, which sells out every year. Nearly 700 poinsettias in a variety of colors will be pre-sold this year during late November and early December. Prices range from $10 to $25 and orders are only taken online.

The holiday tradition is hosted by students from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) and the UH Mānoa Horticulture Society.

jacob olarti checking plants
Jacob Olarti

“It’s a great experience for the students involved, especially with the sale’s awesome turnout every year,” said Jacob Olarti, the Horticulture Society president and TPSS graduate student, who has participated in the sale the last two years. “This is an awesome opportunity, not only to gain hands-on experience, but to spread holiday cheer to our community.”

The planning for the annual holiday tradition begins in the middle of the spring semester and starts with determining which types of poinsettias will be grown in the fall. This year, seven varieties were tested and grown at the UH Mānoa Magoon Research Station.

Students begin planting cuttings in August during the first week of the fall semester. Throughout the semester, they transplant the cuttings into 6-inch pots, fertilize the plants, manage whiteflies with pesticides and maximize branching and growth, ensuring the poinsettias are ready for sale by late November.

“Growing the poinsettias is always fun, even for experienced growers like many of our members,” said Olarti. “I love seeing the different colors as the plants bloom throughout the semester.”

The funds raised support the Horticulture Society and TPSS student activities as well as the next poinsettia sale. Students from the Horticulture Society and students taking TPSS 364 – Horticulture Theory and Practice are responsible for the sale each year.

They’re assisted by students enrolled in TPSS 402 – Flower and Foliage Crop Production and student volunteers from other disciplines. The project is under the supervision and guidance of TPSS Associate Researchers Orville Baldos and Teresita Amore, as well as Magoon Research Station Manager John Hintze.

For additional information, contact the Horticulture Society at

students holding plants
The student-grown plants spread holiday cheer
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