Richard Murray, owner and operator of Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich, stands among some of the 100,000 poinsettias they grow and sell each holiday season, the only large-scale producer on the south Island. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

A visit with the south Island’s only commercial poinsettia producer

Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich grows 100,000 poinsettias a year

There’s only one major poinsettia producer on the south Island and business is strong.

Hilltop Greenhouses on West Burnside Road in Saanich started in the early 1970s and while poinsettia producers around the country are rare, business is steady with poinsettias covering a good range of Hilltop’s four-acre covered growing space.

The family run company sells most of the 100,000 poinsettias it grows each year on the Island. They can be found at grocery chains, independent florists and garden centres and are becoming a popular fundraising item.

“That’s a growing segment for us, churches, schools, clubs and hockey teams,” said Richard Murray, whose parents started the business. “Some groups buy 1,000 plants off us, groups from as far as Parksville-Qualicum, it’s a big fundraiser for them.”

There are easier crops to grow than poinsettias. “Unrooted cuttings” are planted in June and July and Hilltop grows about 20 different varieties, mostly reds, yellows and combinations as such. They sell as four-inch, six-inch and 10-inch plants.

“They’re not easy, they’re pretty tricky actually, but with years of experience, it’s repeatable,” Murray said.

Otherwise, Hilltop produces bedding plants and hanging plants in the spring, and relies on a daily harvest of long English cucumber production in the summer. Workers are still picking cukes three times a week in December, albeit from a smaller crop.

The City of Victoria and Butchart Gardens are known to grow poinsettias but not for sale.

For now, it’s poinsettia season at Hilltop, though the floor of one greenhouse is covered in fuschia seedlings ahead of Mother’s Day, the next crop in an ongoing cycle. Hilltop poinsettias are only sold at a commercial level but are easy enough to find in stores around town.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Fatherhood draws Victoria man to publish Tsimshian colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

Victoria shoppers fund Jubilee hospital cardiac monitoring

More than $40k raised over the holidays at Canadian Tire locations

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read