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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke Arts Council opens first gallery

Classes available at new location

PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

HCMS Winnipeg and HCMS Regina sailing to Hawaiian training exercise, further deployments

COVID-inspired RV sales soaring on West Shore and beyond

Health restrictions, recommendations keep Vancouver Island vacationers closer to home

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

Most Read