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Chester County Ag Council

Joe Lederer — Lederer's Greenhouses

Joe Lederer

When did your family get into the wholesale flower business? What were your first crops?

My grandfather started Lederer's Greenhouses in 1939 here in Parker Ford, Pa. He started out growing cut flowers and eventually switched over to spring bedding plants (geraniums, pansies, impatiens) and holiday poinsettias as consumer trends changed over the years. My brother Chris and I continue that tradition today.

How many poinsettia plants do you grow in a season? What varieties do you specialize in?

We grow about 20,000 potted poinsettia plants each year in traditional colors like red (our most popular color) and white, as well as newer varieties like orange, pink, yellow, speckled and everything in between. Did you know there are over 15 varieties of plain red poinsettia alone? They all have different bloom times and growing habits. We pick the varieties that grow best for our greenhouse conditions and will give our customers the big, healthy plants they are looking for.

How are the plants grown? How long from seed to blooming?

Our plants are grown from cuttings shipped from poinsettia's native habitats in Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It's a very sensitive process that requires carefully monitoring and adjustment of humidity, light and temperature. A change in any of those growth factors could seriously affect the plant's bloom time and quality, and we need them to be ready at a very specific time of year to meet our orders. It means that my brother and I need to constantly stay on top of greenhouse conditions and be ready to solve problems — as well as always have back-up generators for our back-up generators. Nothing can be left to chance.

Who are your main customers?

We primarily sell to interior design clients who might use our plants in corporate offices, public spaces, and private homes. Our next biggest clients would be area churches and garden centers.

What is one of the things you wish people knew about poinsettias?

I wish everyone knew that these Christmas-blooming plants are tropical and don't like the cold. They really shouldn't get below 62 degrees for any length of time. My brother recently drove by a restaurant with a nice outdoor seating area with big hanging baskets of poinsettia everywhere — that were all dead from the cold.

Does your family have any holiday traditions when it comes to poinsettias?

We like to joke that the greenhouses are the most beautiful when they are finally empty! I always bring a few poinsettias at home, but I get to work among them all day long in the months leading up to the holidays.

Learn more about Lederer's Greenhouses.