thesalemnewsonline.com; by Brenda Jessen: Salem High School’s Greenhouse Operations and Management class continues to gain in popularity.
Vo Ag Instructor Heather Johnson said enrollment in the class has steadily increased. This year 18 students are enrolled.
Students recently planted about 300 poinsettias in the department’s greenhouse.
“Greenhouse Operations and Management has had a huge increase the past two years,” Johnson says. “The students primarily grow poinsettias in the fall and hanging baskets in the spring. The class has been growing poinsettias for 10 years. It is a very delicate process. They are the symbolic plant for the holidays. They prefer a humid environment of 67 degrees during the day.”
Johnson said some of the major problems with poinsettias are cool or warm drafts and improper soil moisture. If the soil is too wet, crown or root rot will set in, if it is too dry the plant will drop leaves and have poor flower color.
“We buy rooted cuttings from a company in Ohio. These plants are a little easier to propagate for the students,” Johnson said. “Pests like white flies can be a serious threat. They can destroy the poinsettia crop. We spray the poinsettias with insecticide once a month until they are sold.”