One of the company's endeavors is to develop more cut-flower poinsettia cultivars. "Most people don't know that the poinsettia started as a cut flower before it was sold as a potted plant," Ecke says. For Winter Rose™, pictured, Ecke says "it took 30 years to come up with the right formula and look. When we showed it to the growers, their reaction was not what everyone here had hoped." Because of the smaller, tighter, rounder, crumpled bracts that aren't exactly replicas of more traditional poinsettias, "Growers thought they looked diseased."
Not to be discouraged, the Ecke company tried another strategy. "We went to consumers and did a focus group. They loved it!"