Photo and story by Wendy Anderson / Contributing Writer
With the holidays right around the corner, many scramble to prepare, and the closer the holidays approach, the harder it is to find decorations and gifts. But the MTSU Plant and Soil Science Club alleviated some of that stress by hosting its annual poinsettia sale Friday.
Although the club usually offers jars of honey alongside the plants at their annual sale, they didn’t this year; nonetheless, business boomed. Guests could choose from a variety of colors in the plants, which included red, white and peach, and each plant came with a decorative pot cover in the festive colors of red, gold and green. Green seemed to be the go-to, which is why they sold out quickly, but unlike the pot covers, there were plenty of plants to go around.
“We average 400 poinsettia each year, and we usually sell out every year,” said Clarissa Westbrook, a horticulture student who was enrolled in the greenhouse management class this semester.
Alongside Westbrook, many of the semester’s students began growing the plants in August. According to Nate Phillips, a horticulture professor, the larger poinsettias that can be found in stores were probably started in July; however, in order to allow MTSU students the experience of growing their own plants, they needed to accommodate MTSU’s school schedule and prolong their start to August.
From seed to fully grown plants, the students had a hand in every step of the process.
“Any sort of experiential learning is good,” Phillips said. “It allows students the chance to apply what they’re learning and have a hand in marketing the product.”
First-year MTSU student Alaina Kresovic shared her experience with the horticulture department and the Plant and Soil Science Club and how both have benefited her.
“We do a lot of things that give me a good basis,” she said. “We grow these poinsettias ourselves, so it’s awesome to be able to say that, (and) I like the sense of community.”
The plant buyers can also feel good about their purchases, because proceeds from each sale benefitted the Plant and Soil Science Club to pay for supplies for future sales and trips to regional and national competitions. This year, members competed at the national conference in Hawaii and took home third place.
The greenhouse management class will be growing plants for the spring sale. Any plants left over from this year’s winter sale may be made available for a discounted price or donated to places like local nursing homes.
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