By Lauren Olsen
Heartland Growers, 2621 E. 186th St., Westfield, is growing holiday cheer in a big, colorful way. The family business of more than two generations sells poinsettias to local merchants, wholesale and to fundraisers.
Tom Samuelson, head grower, has been cultivating product for more than 20 years, but is relativity new to Heartland Growers.
“I’ve been with Heartland Growers for over a year now and the owners and staff have made me feel like this is home,” he said.
Samuelson starts each poinsettia with soil that is mixed on site. It is a combination of 70 percent peat moss, 30 percent perlite, dolomitic lime and starter fertilizer. He fills each pot with the soil mixture and waters it. Then the pots are ready for the poinsettia cuttings to be placed for growth.
“In 2013, we produced 294,784 pots of poinsettias ranging in size from 4- to 10-inch pots,” he said.
Samuelson orders the poinsettia cuttings in January to be ready to start shipping out by the second week of November, with sales peaking the week of Thanksgiving.
To ensure the poinsettias are lush and full by the holidays, he starts growing the large 8- and 10-inch pots by July and the 5- and 6-inch pots in August. Samuelson said the larger pots take four individual plants to get them to look like they are bursting with blooms.
In addition to the array of sizes, there is also an assortment of colors. Samuelson said the most popular color they grow is red, which makes up about 70 percent of sales. Heartland also grows various shades of white, pink and marble with the additional options of glitter or flocking, for a snow-covered look.
“The varieties we grow we have been growing for five plus years, we know how these varieties grow,” Samuelson said.
Heartland Growers distributes the poinsettias throughout Indiana and areas of Michigan and Illinois. Their flowers may be found at Marsh, Lowe’s and JC Foods. Samuelson said about one-third of Heartland Growers sales is done through fundraising, and it is something HG has been have been participating in for more than 20 years.
For more information, visit www.heartlandgrowers.com or call 896-9355.