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Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Thursday, 9 December 2010
Poinsettia grower's Christmas plants are blooming
Duncan Taylor
Duncan Taylor has grown 24,000 poinsettias this year

A nursery in Lancashire is working hard to provide traditional Christmas plants after fears there could be a national shortage of UK-grown poinsettias.

The plants thrive in the hot climates of Mexico and Ethiopia.

These cheaper foreign imports mean British varieties are thin on the ground across the rest of the country as we approach the festive season.

But Duncan Taylor, manager of Arden Lea Nurseries at Hesketh Bank, has grown 24,000 of them!

Duncan grows them from cuttings during the summer, but the striking red colour doesn't come until much later in the year.

close up of a poinsettia
Keep them warm to keep them happy

"It's triggered by light," explains Duncan. "So as you get into October, the darkness triggers the mechanism in the plant that starts them going red."

It's not the flower that goes red, it's the bracts - the leaves - and Duncan says it's important to look after the plants to get the best from them.

"Choose a good plant, don't leave it in the car in the cold weather, take it straight home and don't over-water them, just keep it moist and it will give you a good return."

And how do you make them last until well after Christmas? Like us, they like the light and they like to keep warm.

"When you get it home you have a decision to make. Do you want to put it where the plant wants to go, or where you want it to go?

"Both are correct decisions. In a dark corner it will last five or six weeks.

"I put mine on the table in the conservatory or the dining room, and I threw mine away in May!"




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